Ridgeview fears new national park will stop expansion
A new national park is to be created around the South Downs next spring which could jeopardise expansion of a thriving wine industry says Mike Roberts of Ridgeview. Chalky, south facing slopes and a cool climate make the area well suited to growing grapes and producing world class sparkling wine to rival Champagne. But Mike will see his wine estate enveloped by the park and fears there will be resistance to new buildings which would limit any future plans for extending his winery. Fortunately he already has planning permission to increase the size of the winery with work expected to start in the new year.
Mike says there is capacity for around 1 million bottles of wine to be produced within the boundaries of the park. Ridgeview is expected to produce 300,000 bottles in 2010, but Mike's vision is for a South Downs appellation d'origine contrôlée to put the area on the world wine map.
Planners say there will be little change to planning policy as the South Downs is already protected as an area of outstanding beauty. The park would be the ninth national park in England.