Lancashire - Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Local Plan responses in summer 2017

Thursday, 14 September 2017 13:05

The Lancashire Branch of CPRE was very busy in recent months due to the deluge of local plan consultations. We see it as vitally important that rural issues are championed in planning policy so our countryside is protected and enhanced in the future.

We were pleased to comment on local plan stages for Blackpool, Hyndburn, Lancaster District, Oldham, Pendle, Rochdale, Ribble Valley, Salford, and Tameside to ensure that local plans are ‘rural proofed’ as possible. We also participated in the Examination of the Fylde Local Plan.

We are passionate about plan-led development. But, it is important that the local plans plan for the right development, in the right places, for the right reasons. Importantly adequate supporting infrastructure ought to be delivered, if communities are to be sustainable.

Strategic planning and investment is important to ensure development that comes forward is a sustainable as possible based on ‘Smart Growth’ principles for transport, energy and waste.

We promote sustainable transport modes such as walking and cycling, and then public rail and bus services to reduce the amount of unnecessary car trips, and associated air pollution. We must stop building more roads, which are evidenced to simply create more demand for car use. The solution is to encourage mixed use developments so people at least have an option of walking or cycling to work, or to travel by reliable, safe public transport services.

We want development to be focused on central urban areas first, to reuse wasted brownfield land and for appropriate densities relative to the level of accessibility, with associated amenities so towns and cities are vibrant, and happy places within to live. We want to prevent needless development of farmland, especially Green Belt protected land, at the fringes of towns and cities as these provide important ‘green lung’ functions, and other natural capital services important to preventing flood risk, supporting biodiversity and providing natural spaces for people to spend leisure time. Spending time in the countryside is evidenced as so important for our health and well-being.

Our rural areas are full of elements important to our heritage and cultural identity. We must value all the benefits that countryside offers and protect intrinsic beauty, dark skies, trees, hedgerows and importantly tranquillity.

Once countryside is gone, it is gone for ever.

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