Leicestershire Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Another Successful AGM in 2014

Thursday, 11 June 2015 00:00

Neil Sinden addressing 2014 AGM Neil Sinden addressing 2014 AGM Tony Stott

Another Successful AGM in 2014
The 2014 AGM last October once again was a successful combination of a business and social event.

 


Held one evening at the delightful Diseworth Heritage Centre, forty members and guests enjoyed the tempting refreshments of a buffet supper provided a local caterer who did us proud. The highlights of the evening were two informative talks that provided lively questions and discussion.


The first was given by Neil Sinden, Director of Policy and Campaigns at CPRE National Office. His was a most engaging and informative talk in which he reviewed the changes to the planning system since 2012 and CPRE’s concerns about the way these changes are working out in practice.


One concern of particular relevance to Leicestershire is the lack of protection for the wider countryside. 87%  of   Leicestershire is undesignated wider countryside and does not have the benefit of protective national planning designations such as Green Belt status. As such, it is the English county with the highest proportion of its countryside without protective national designations. Neighbourhood Plans could act to protect our rural landscape and should be encouraged.


Richard Mugglestone, Development Manager at Midlands Rural Housing, followed and discussed the issues around the topic of affordable rural housing. He took us through a detailed review of the processes and problems of delivering homes in rural settlements for local people. He indicated that 117 homes for local people had been delivered in 15 villages since 2010 and while more were on the way, funding was going to be a major issue for the future.  He was enthusiastic and impressed the audience with his clarity and dedication to the delivery of village homes for local people.


In his report during the business part of the evening the Chairman, Tony Stott, referred to the progress made in the past year.  The branch was stronger and more active, though still very much in need of more volunteers to share and expand our work across the whole county. They had been working on a 3 year Branch Strategic and Development plan, which he presented to the meeting.  However, both at branch and district group level, we are very concerned and frustrated at the way the planning system is currently working.

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