THE National Trust is to start charging people to park at one of Oxfordshire's most beloved beauty spots.

The charity is installing a ticket machine in the car park at Watlington Hill near Christmas Common, South Oxfordshire.

The hill, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, offers beautiful views across the surrounding Chiltern Hills.

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The National Trust has managed the site and 109 hectares of woodland and grassland around it for years and let people park at the site for free.

Oxford Mail:

However, in a planning application submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council this month for the new machine, the trust said it wanted to start covering more of its costs for looking after the site.

Among its costs it cited re-dressing the gravel surface of the car park, picking up litter and dog mess, maintaining signs, notice boards and 'management of adjacent vegetation'.

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Paying members of the National Trust will not have to pay extra to use the car park, but the charity said new charges for non-members 'will provide a means of [sic] non-members to contribute towards the upkeep of the property and the care of the wildlife habitats, viewpoints and trees'.

The trust did not say how much tickets would cost.

There is also no indication of any plans to charge people who do not park.

Oxford Mail:

It did say, however, that this plan was part of 'a programme of installing ticket machines in its countryside car parks across the country'.

Members of public can see the full planning application at using reference number P20/S0590/FUL.

The council has said it is running a consultation period until March 12.