Lancashire - Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Urban Network Group established

Wednesday, 21 September 2016 09:58

Several CPRE branches across the country join forces to respond to the Government’s current planning for growth in many towns and cities.

CPRE Lancashire has joined the CPRE Urban Network Group to consider the natural environment, in and around urban centres, and the spatial planning implications as devolved governance takes shape, and new combined authorities take over strategic decision making.

The Urban Network comprises CPRE branches with towns and cities in their geography. The group is focusing on the key issues, and campaign areas as decision making for sub-regional planning and transport is passed to new planning bodies, some fronted by newly elected mayors. CPRE London has already engaged with its elected Mayors and planning for Greater London.

Urban places are where the majority of people live and work, it is important these places are developed with quality green spaces for residential amenity and improved quality of life. It is only by promoting good urban design that people will chose to live in cities and take pressure off new development in the countryside. The countryside is important in its own right providing clean air to breathe, space to grow our food, tranquil escapes from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Many cities have a rich legacy of vacant and neglected brownfield (previously used) land. They are protected by a ring of Green Belt designated land, which keeps land permanently open, protecting from urban sprawl and promoting urban regeneration. It will be important to address the future viability of brownfield land and continued commitment to our Green Belt. After all, both our iconic countryside and Green Belt are the envy of the world.

Formal parks and historic gardens, and informal natural habitats such as along canals and rivers collectively provide important ecosystem services, from the promotion of biodiversity, to flood defence. The importance of such green space must also be fully recognised as new jobs, housing and infrastructure development is planned and the loss of such green space should be avoided where possible.

New technology should ensure we reduce our energy demand and waste. Community views should be expressed and have influence to make our places grow upwards rather than outwards, and be distinct and rich in local character, with local styles and materials reflected in our built fabric.

To date the Urban Network has met in London, Manchester and Liverpool to identify common campaigning themes and to look at messaging and influencing when growth is planned. The benefit of the countryside to society is important and its future protection must be central to new plans.

CPRE Lancashire is engaging with the sub-regional planning in Liverpool City Region and in Greater Manchester to influence planning policies and plans that best protect and enhance the countryside and urban green spaces. We hope to recruit new members and volunteers along the way to add to our capacity and canvas public support for our campaigns as appropriate.

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