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Surrey Hills Landscape Assessment

Heritage Lottery Bid

Stage 1 Application to Heritage Lottery Fund by Surrey County Council on behalf of the Surrey Hills AONB Joint Advisory Committee, October 1999

Summary - Vision

The Surrey Hills AONB is a unique landscape, one of the first in England to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Project outlined in this bid aims to restore and manage the broad variety of heritage features which make the Surrey Hills special.

This Stage 1 bid seeks to secure HLF support for the provision of personnel to develop the concepts of the Surrey Hills Landscape Heritage Project into site specific, costed initiatives to be submitted as a Stage 2 HLF bid.

The framework for the Project is viewpoint re-creation along the corridors of the North Downs Way National Trail and Greensand Way Regional Route which weave their way throughout the Surrey Hills. Viewpoint loss is a well recorded and recognised problem in the Surrey Hills, documented in the AONB Landscape Assessment and Surrey's Landscape and Countryside Strategies and also highlighted in the action plan of the 'Consultation document on a Management Strategy for the Surrey Hills'. The major threat to views from and to the AONB is tree and scrub encroachment.

Sites will be prioritised according to the heritage feature which has been instrumental in the creation of the viewpoint or which is being lost through the neglect or misuse of the site. This will take into account landscape, nature conservation, archaeology, historic building, designed landscape, geology, artistic association and industrial heritage considerations. In this way viewpoints will not be created as an end in themselves but in association with the enhancement of the variety of heritage features of the Surrey Hills.

This methodology will enable the Project to be holistic, encompassing the whole of the AONB and the wide variety of heritage assets that make it the special landscape it is. The scheme aims to highlight the diversity within the Surrey Hills. Through improvements to physical access, focusing on the well researched routes of the National Trail and Regional Route, and innovative interpretation and promotional methods the Project aims to bring a greater understanding of the Surrey Hills AONB to its millions of visitors and locals alike.

Practical restoration and management works will ensure the features that are valued persist into the next Millennium, to be cherished by future generations.

The wide cross section of partners in the Project, many already working with the AONB Unit on other initiatives, will ensure its stability and success. The Project remit will actively involve a large number of parties - landowners, landmanagers, special interest groups, community groups (including schools) and volunteer groups. Participation on this scale will foster ownership and sustainability ensuring the long term benefits of the Project.

The funding request for this Stage 1 bid is 60% of £16,000 (£17,600 including 10% contingency) to cover the costs of development of the Project to the Stage 2 phase. The Stage 2 bid will detail Project costs of £625,000 (£718,750 including 15% contingency) to be spent over three years, with 60% of the funding being requested from HLF.