Chairman's Summer Comment:
Studland requires no further promotion and the National Trust
ought to cease attracting more visitors to the area
That was the overwhelming view of the majority of invitees, of which I was
one, representing SUN, to a fussily structured half-day National Trust 'seminar' earlier
this year. It was designed to fine-tune their 'Statement of Significance' for
the Studland peninsula and the surrounding areas. I spoke with some and
eavesdropped on others - the small groups of local people with a stake in the
area - drinking coffee and muttering about the 'ruination' of Studland and the
suited men from regional offices chipping away at the jewel in Dorset's crown.
"Studland is full," they said in unison.
Fears for Studland as 5,000 space car
Increasing visitor numbers, the protection of a landscape under assault, road
traffic and car parking, all featured on the agenda. But, behind the hand
wringing, the environmental concern, the loss of beach and National Trust car parking spaces
dominated. I left with the impression that for all the talk of park'n'ride
schemes, bans on car parking on Ferry Road, bringing people over on foot, buses
from Corfe, etc., was a plan to install as big a car park in a new spot on
Studland Heath as quickly as possible. Perhaps as early as 2001. After all, the
National Trust has 'lost' 290 spaces to sea erosion in the last two years and this has
prompted urgent thoughts of a new car park - with 5,000 spaces the desired
figure. You can see here the evidence of driven greed. Not a replacement 300
spaces - but 5,000!
The National Trust's Mark Harold used to say to me the National Trust were good managers of the area.
Plans for Studland in the 1960s under Bankes were set to turn the place into a
'Dorset Blackpool.' The National Trust has since resisted such plans, he boasted.
Nudist pollution through textile
But five thousand extra cars will produce a Blackpool ambience and the red
posts survive because the last thing they want is us nuddies getting ideas above
our station and not taking part in their version of a 'family atmosphere' -
Trusty the hedgehog hats, nasty pasties and ice-cream. Their answer to bare
bummed 'nudist pollution' is through textile dilution. But we're here, we're
growing in numbers, we're sunbathing, we're walking, we're having fun and we're
staying - but we are not staying put. Have a good summer.