THE CEO of Ashdown Forest highlights the concessions on offer as part of new parking charges. 


Paying to park in the 45 car parks across Ashdown Forest starts on Monday November 21 with annual, winter and concessionary passes available the week before.


The payments are being introduced after an extensive consultation with the public, and because the Forest must generate funding to ensure safe access and its long-term future.


CEO James Adler says the Forest is aware of the problems many people are facing with the cost-of-living increase at present.


He said: “We are offering significant concessions for a number of households who may struggle with the new payments.


“We said from the start that these concessions were something we wanted to do, and especially at this time, it is something we must do.”


An annual concessionary pass will cost just £5 if you are on Universal or Pension Credit or any of the legacy benefits including:


  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit.


To access this concession, applicants will need a proof of benefit letter from the Department of Work and Pensions. 


Applicants needing help with the system of obtaining concessionary passes can ring Horizon Parking’s Permits Team on 01245 392289, Option 4, Monday to Friday between 9am – 5pm, but will not be able to buy passes over the phone as this must be done online.


For those not in receipt of those credits or benefits but who visit regularly, the annual pass, at £80 per year, offers a substantial discount compared to paying separately each day. 


For those who visit the Forest only in the winter, a six-month Winter Pass is just £50, valid from October until the end of March. This will be discounted in the first year to reflect the start of the scheme in November.


Annual passes may be bought yearly with a one-off payment or via a monthly direct debit. 


Monthly direct debit payments will be slightly higher at £8 per month compared to the one-off purchase.


Blue Badge holders can park for free, as long as the Badge is displayed clearly in their vehicle’s windscreen.


Away from the annual passes, standard parking payments are:


  • £2 for one hour,
  • £2.50 for up to two hours,
  • £4 for up to four hours,
  • and £5 all day.


Meanwhile, parking attendants from Horizon have already started work, and are currently visiting all 45 car parks to start meeting visitors to the Forest.


James said: “The attendants are taking the opportunity to speak with our visitors to the Forest and assist them with the change.


“We have asked Horizon Parking to introduce the parking payments in an approachable way, as our visitors adapt to the change.”


Annual and Winter parking passes can be bought from November 14 on the Horizon Parking Portal