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Helping create our Vision

Amy Gillespie
By Amy Gillespie
7th August 2021

Help us create a new Vision for Leicester and Leicestershire

In recent years CPRE Leicestershire fought the Leicester and Leicestershire Strategic Growth Plan and its plan for a new motorway standard A46 Expressway.

We are now looking to develop a strategic vision for the future of Leicester and Leicestershire which aims to make progress against climate and ecological emergencies.

The city and the county face huge pressures to grow the economy, build more houses and deliver new infrastructure. The challenge is how to manage the pressure to expand, while protecting our precious and fragile environment and countryside and tackling the challenges posed by the changing climate, biodiversity decline and a post Covid 19 world.

We want to engage the attention of our members and the people of Leicester and Leicestershire. We will be asking them for their views on how they see the future of Leicester and Leicestershire, what things they value, what they see as special about our city and county and their concerns about the future of the countryside. We want to develop and cement our relationships with other environmental organisations by creating a shared Vision.

There is a need now for a wider debate and we urge others, who agree with us, to join with us in calling for a change of direction.  We need a broad church of politicians, business leaders, farmers, environmental organisations, conservation bodies and key decision makers to play a full part in all decisions taken in the future. Our young people must have a vital say for this is their future we are dealing with.

Leicester and Leicestershire under pressure

Given the location of Leicester and Leicestershire in the centre of England with access to the M1 and East Midlands Airport as well as its location at the centre of ‘logistics golden triangle’, the pressure for more and more infrastructure development is likely to intensify.

Leicestershire is without the protections afforded by major national protective designations, Green Belt, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOBs) or National Park status. This means that much of its countryside is undesignated ‘open countryside’ and therefore vulnerable to development. Important heritage and nature assets such as Bosworth Field, Bradgate Park, and Burbage Woods, are increasingly threatened by adjacent or surrounding developments. Charnwood Forest, the Vale of Belvoir, High Leicestershire and the Welland Valley are important, valued, and sensitive landscape areas.

But how Leicester and Leicestershire will look in 2050 will be shaped by the manner in which we respond to climate change, the degradation of nature and the natural environment and to the Covid 19 pandemic and the extent the planning system forces housing, transport, industrial and commercial developments to incorporate these concerns.

Valuing our countryside, green spaces and nature

The pandemic has brought home the need for a healthier environment for all. There has been an increased public recognition of the importance of countryside, green spaces, and nature for the promotion of physical and mental wellbeing.

Our countryside, landscape and historic environment are at the heart of protecting our future prosperity. Our land is not an endless resource that can be squandered. Conserving, maintaining, and improving these assets is essential if we are to prosper. This takes collective planning and a strategic approach. We want to see plans developed that address the pressing issues of our time, not an outdated ‘business as usual’ economic model.

Time for a positive approach

Much of our campaigning has been reactive:  We want to develop a positive view of how Leicester and Leicestershire might develop and look in the future; and a much more positive view of the value and importance of the countryside in its own right as well as the access to nature it provides.

We have developed some thoughts which can be found HERE and would love your feedback.

How you can get involved:

Let’s make a positive and more prosperous Leicester and Leicestershire a reality. We need your help in developing this Vision for the future.

If you would like to offer suggestions or join in with our work, please get in touch via our email  Alternatively, you can also make a donation to support this campaign.

Caroline Pick