Steyne Gardens in Worthing
Steyne Gardens in Worthing on a sunny day

Sussex Nature Partnership

Project Leads

Mike King and Neil Smith

How much do communities value their green and blue spaces and what’s the best way of engaging them to find out?

Resources for Change is working for Sussex Nature Partnership to understand how people engage with their natural local spaces. We are trialling a range of public consultation and engagement approaches in seven different green and blue spaces across the county. The different approaches are looking at the potential of the publicly owned spaces to deliver benefits for nature and people. As a result, this could increase their relevance across public sector objectives including:

  • Climate Change
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Biodiversity
  • Environmental quality

The Spaces

The open spaces range from historic urban parks, gardens and playing fields to beach and foreshore, areas of countryside and woodland. Management of these spaces is often ‘traditional’, maintaining the ‘amenity’ space for recreation, without considering the added value they could bring:

  • Greater connection to nature and natural spaces for local communities, meeting local community needs
  • The recovery of nature locally and at a wider scale across Sussex
  • Carbon storage and improved air quality – through new habitat creation
  • Supporting pollinators through suitably managed habitats

The potential of these spaces hindered by limited knowledge of the spaces and how they are valued, and there can be limited skills and confidence within local authorities and communities. This makes it harder to develop a more ambitious approach for managing the spaces.

Where we are working and who with

Working with Adur & Worthing Councils in West Sussex and Wealden District Council in East Sussex, the project will work with council parks or ranger staff, councillors and local communities across seven case study sites. The aim is to learn, share and build skills and knowledge, ‘co-creating’ the recommended approaches.

The sites are:

  1. Buckingham Park (Shoreham/Adur). Sports grounds and play areas. Busy urban park.
  2. Steyne Gardens (Worthing). Victorian town park and garden. Busy event space
  3. Kingston Beach (Shoreham/Adur) Foreshore/Village Green adjacent to shingle beach
  4. Maurice Thornton Playing Field (Hailsham/Wealden). Amenity greenspace
  5. Crowborough Ghyll (Crowborough/Wealden). Local country park / woodland on urban fringe
  6. Hempstead Meadows (Uckfield/Wealden) Local wildlife reserve / wetland on urban fringe
  7. Snatts Road Cemetery (Uckfield/Wealden) Urban fringe cemetery (north and south sites)

The two sites in Uckfield have an online consultation site which you can access here.

Find out more about Sussex Local Nature Partnership.