Join us in Buxton for the launch of this exciting new long distance trail around our beautiful Peak District National Park. With Emma Bridgewater.
Fancy being the first to open the trail?
Why not join us for a celebration of "first-footing" the route from 9am.
There are 20 start points. See below to find your nearest walk.
- Buxton Market Place
New CPRE research shows a growing crisis of affordable housing in many rural areas.
Using Government data, the research indicates that the proportion of affordable homes being provided by non-metropolitan local authorities has halved in five years. In 2011-12, 35% of new dwellings were affordable; in 2015-16, this had decreased to just 16%.
CPRE’s research also shows that just five of the 15 most unaffordable districts outside London have met their affordable housing target.
As councils no longer receive direct funding for affordable housing, and, until recently, very few councils have been building homes, the main way affordable homes are currently provided is through conditions on developers being granted planning permission.
Recent research from the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) shows that councils are increasingly concerned about affordable housing and the effect that viability assessments have on providing it. In the TCPA’s study, over 60% of councils surveyed agreed that the viability test set out in the National Planning Policy Framework has hindered their ability to secure sufficient social and affordable housing to meet local needs.
Paul Miner, planning campaign manager at CPRE, said: “Many councils are falling woefully short of their targets to provide affordable homes. Yet you also have to look at those developers who continually use shady tactics to renege on promises to build affordable homes and new community infrastructure. These are often the promises that win them permission in the first place.
Developers have councils in a bind. It’s either fewer affordable homes or missed housing targets. And either way it’s young people and local people in need who lose out.
As just 8% of rural housing is affordable, much of the countryside is already out of reach to those on average incomes. If we don’t change things this will just get worse. The next Government must reduce the power of these viability studies, stop highly profitable developers gaming the system and give councils the hard cash to start building houses again.”
Visit the CPRE website for the full story.
Friends of the Peak District's Magnificent Walk in 2017 will start and finish at the Royal Oak Inn at Wetton.
The long 20-mile challenge walk will include the stunning Dovedale and Manifold Valley.
Two shorter, but equally beautiful walks will also be on offer.
Entry costs £12 per person. Under 16s FREE. £3 extra on the day.
All proceeds in aid of the Friends of the Peak District.
There's a public car park in Wetton with public toilets open 24 hours.
There will be tea and coffee available at the Royal Oak before you set off, and water to fill your bottles.
We'll provide route directions and maps. And we'll waymark the route where necessary.
For more info visit the Friends website
or email Julie@cprepeakandsyorks.org.uk
The Royal Oak Inn, Wetton. Click here for directions
Are you passionate about the countryside?
This is an exciting opportunity to lead a highly regarded local environmental charity, running the trustee board who provide governance and strategic direction for our work.
Friends of the Peak District and CPRE South Yorkshire work to protect and enhance the countryside of South Yorkshire and the Peak District. Our vision is of a living, working countryside, which changes with the times but remains beautiful forever.
You will need to understand the role of trustee boards and have the leadership and management skills, experience and commitment that will help us achieve our objectives.
- Covering letter
- Role description
- Equal opportunities monitoring form
- 2015 Annual Review
- Organisational structure
- Information about FPD and CPRE-SY
For an informal chat:
Contact Andy Tickle 0114 279 2655 (Mon-Thurs) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing date: Tuesday 30 May
This is an unpaid post but reasonable expenses are paid.
CPRE research finds Green Belt and AONB at risk from local authority growth ambitions as councils are failing to apply planning guidance that is designed to protect precious countryside.
Councils are expected by Government to establish and have a plan to meet an 'Objectively Assessed Need' (OAN) for housing in their area, which takes into account issues such as projected population growth and future employment opportunities. Yet planning rules also state that this number should take into account constraints such as protected countryside.
CPRE research today shows that, since 2012, 24 councils out of the 62 local authorities for which there is clear data have heeded national policy and established housing targets in approved local plans lower than their OAN, with the majority reducing their targets due to environmental or countryside constraints. These include Chichester, Lewes and Wealden. Chichester reduced its target by 23% and Lewes by 30%. Other local authorities, such as Brighton, Watford, Hastings and Crawley, have reduced their targets by 50% or more.
Other councils, however, have pursued the full OAN despite a high proportion of their land being protected countryside. In East Devon, the planning inspector accepted the local authority’s contention that OAN of 17,100 houses should be met in full because of high expected levels of job creation in the district. In Christchurch and East Dorset, where the local plan meets the objectively assessed need for 8,490 houses over 15 years in full, 84% of the area of the plan is covered by Green Belt, AONB and nature conservation land.
CPRE finds that this approach is continuing elsewhere. For example, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, part of which is covered by the Prime Minister's constituency, is pursuing their full OAN target of 14,000 houses over 20 years despite 84% of the land being Green Belt. In Mid Sussex, the planning inspector has been reported as forcing the council to accept a number even higher than their OAN of 876 houses per year to help Crawley meet their 'unmet need'. Mid Sussex has significant areas of precious countryside, particularly the High Weald AONB. Neighbouring authorities, particularly Wealden which has a similar proportion of protected land, have been able to reduce their housing targets. Campaigners and local MPs have long fought a consortium of developers who have argued for a still higher housing target.
CPRE's planning campaign manager Paul Miner comments: "Government planning rules state that councils should reduce their numbers if faced with significant constraints. A number of councils around the country have done just this. One has to ask, therefore, why the Government is allowing councils to ignore national guidance in places such as Maidenhead.
"We need to build more genuinely affordable homes. But current rules promote urban sprawl and cause the unnecessary loss of countryside. A more transparent and less damaging method of planning for housing is urgently needed."
Government ministers recently pledged to create a new method for councils to calculate their Objectively Assessed Need. The proposals were expected in early summer, but the General Election is believed to have delayed their release. CPRE is calling for a method that better reflects local need, protected countryside and current building rates.
CPRE's new research follows previous work by consultants Lichfields, who in 2016 found a further seven councils that reduced OAN due to constraints or adverse impacts. Added to CPRE's work, this would total more than 30 councils that have reduced their housing targets, most often on environmental grounds.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is pleased to announce the appointment of a new chief executive, Crispin Truman, who has led The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) for more than a decade.
Crispin has been chief executive of the CCT since 2003, during which time he has been responsible for delivering major regeneration projects and creating partnerships to help sustain local communities and their heritage. His love of the countryside and experiences working with rural conservation groups drove his enthusiasm for CPRE, he said.
"I love being in the countryside and enjoy walking or cycling out of town whenever I get the opportunity," he added. "In my time at CCT I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with rural communities to save their local historic churches - now to have the chance to lead the premier charity working to protect and enhance rural England is fantastic.
"I’m really looking forward to getting to know the thousands of volunteers, members and professionals who make CPRE what it is: working day in day out to keep our countryside beautiful for all."
Chair of CPRE, Su Sayer, said she was delighted at the new appointment. "I am very much looking forward to working with Crispin. He brings with him a wealth of experience and arrives at an exciting time for CPRE as we embark on our new strategic plan and work to promote the countryside with a new Government."
Crispin will start his new role at CPRE on 4 September.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) broadly welcomes today’s Housing White Paper, in particular its focus on addressing market failure in the house building industry.
Click on this link to read the CPRE reaction to the Housing White Paper
Click on this link to read the blog by Matt Thomson, CPRE Head of Planning with more detailed thoughts on the Housing White Paper.
We are objecting to the application for 62 dwellings at Griffs Fireclay Works near Stopes Road in Sheffield. We objected to the previous proposal for 88 houses because although there is clearly a need for the site to be either restored or redeveloped, a substantial housing development standing in open countryside, separately from the built-up area of Stannington, in the Green Belt, is an inappropriate outcome for the site.
This is because:
- A housing development is very different, functionally, from the previous use of the site, especially in terms of the travel patterns and amenity needs of the prospective new residents, who would be living remotely from the facilities of Stannington and would tend to be car-dependent
- A large housing development in this location amounts to a new hamlet in the countryside, and the merits of that new settlement can only meaningfully be determined through the Local Plan process, with its associated Green Belt review
- Allowing housing of this scale outside the built-up area establishes a worrying precedent for similar incursions elsewhere, and pressure for further development between the current edge of Stannington and the application site
- The appropriate re-use of such a prominent, well-known site must be done in full collaboration with nearby communities, must directly address their needs and aspirations for the area, and must be of exemplary and innovative design.
The slight reduction in the number of dwellings does nothing to mitigate our previous objection.
In considering the previous application, Sheffield City Council accepted an argument made by the applicant, that the brownfield status of the site removed the need for the applicant to demonstrate very special circumstances for developing in the Green Belt. In our view this was an incorrect interpretation of NPPF.
NPPF may allow for ‘limited infilling or the partial redevelopment of previously developed sites (brownfield land) which would not have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt’. But we believe the Council interpreted this wrongly because:
- The impact on the openness of the Green Belt is not limited to the visual impact of the site. It is abundantly clear that the change of use of the site to residential has a dramatic functional effect on the openness of the Green Belt
- The former factory pre-dates the Green Belt designation, which washed over it, and therefore the previous purpose of the site is not relevant.
In other words, the development will bring about a change in the characteristics of the site and its immediate surroundings, from one that is essentially open countryside but contains a former factory, to one that includes new, open-market housing typical of volume housebuilders.
Consequently, in our view, the need to demonstrate very special circumstances for inappropriate development in the Green Belt does apply, and this new application provides the Council with an opportunity to revise their previous interpretation.
Whilst we did not agree that a contribution of £1.8m to affordable housing in the area made the development acceptable, we strongly supported the point that provision of affordable housing is a high priority for Sheffield, and that no development should go ahead without an appropriate level of affordable contribution.
We therefore take a dim view of the new proposed contribution of £840,000, because the proposed contribution is 47% of the previous one, despite the number of new dwellings being 70% of the previous one.
It is our view that a volume housebuilder solution is not appropriate to this sensitive location, and that the brownfield status of the site does not override the need for the proposal to demonstrate very special circumstances for developing in the Green Belt.
We were pleased to hear that the city council's planning department have said that they will not tolerate developments which encroach into Sheffield’s green belt.
The owners of White Acres Farm in Stannington tried to gain retrospective approval for a house which they converted from a barn building without planning permission. Councillors dismissed the application as unlawful so the building will have to be returned to its original state.
The aim of the green belt is to prevent the encroachment of urban areas into the countryside and there are only certain types of development that are considered to be appropriate. Sheffield’s green belt was the first in the country to be established, in 1938.
In Sheffield, and the west in particular, the green belt is a really important planning tool to maintain the distinction between the urban area and the open landscape that stretches out into the Peak District. We're delighted to see the council upholding it in relation to the farm but it's slightly ironic that the council did recently give permission for a new hamlet at the Dyson Refractories site.
The council’s interim head of planning Flo Churchill said regulations regarding this kind of development were indisputable. She said “In this particular instance it’s clear cut, because the applicants didn’t put forward any cases of special circumstances to support the development,” she said. “National policy says developments such as this are by definition inappropriate and cause harm.”
The burden is on anyone who wants to build in that green belt - which stretches into the city along green corridors, as well as surrounding it - to show that the benefits of the development outweigh any harm it would cause.
For the full article in the Sheffield Telegraph, click here.
New research by CPRE shows the huge potential of the Green Belt in terms of amenity and nature conservation. So we are calling on the Government to prioritise investment in Green Belts in the forthcoming 25-year plan for the environment and make sure Green Belt protection is enforced.
Produced by environmental consultants ADAS, "Nature Conservation and Recreational Opportunities in the Green Belt" shows how Green Belt land is particularly valuable in giving people access to the countryside and opportunities for recreation. It also shows how woodland and wetland in the Green Belt can be enhanced to help us mitigate climate change.
Given Green Belt’s protected status, CPRE argues that we have the perfect case for investment in improving these vital public amenities. ADAS’s research sets out several case studies which provide models for how that can best be done in funding terms and by demonstrating where previously derelict industrial sites have been converted to thriving nature reserves and woodland.
CPRE's national planning campaign manager, Paul Miner, comments: “The Green Belt is successful and popular, preventing urban sprawl and giving people the opportunity of getting away from it all. With the increasing pressure of development it is more vital than ever. Yet we are nibbling away at it month by month while the Government looks the other way.
“The Green Belt’s future depends on the Government’s desire to protect it and to fund opportunities to use that land for further public benefits. Yesterday’s car parks and sewage works can be tomorrow’s wetland and woodland, enjoyed by urban and countryside dwellers alike. Given its potential, we should be looking at how public funding can improve Green Belt.”
The research also found that Green Belt land offers more opportunities for recreation than similar areas without Green Belt status, and that new opportunities are coming forward all the time. A third of community forests created in England since 1990 are in the Green Belt, as are 48 new local nature reserves - nearly a third of all created in England since 2009.
The new research shows that England’s Green Belt provides urban dwellers with invaluable access to the countryside: 17% of public rights of way (including both public footpaths and bridleways) are within Green Belts compared with 13% in similar, non-Green Belt areas. Nearly half of country parks, a third of local nature reserves and one fifth of England’s deciduous woodland can be found in the Green Belt.
ADAS’ research also found that Green Belts include a significant proportion of ‘priority habitats’, endangered areas of wildlife and biodiversity that need conservation. The Natural Capital Committee recently argued that that more wetland and woodland on the edge of urban areas would do much to help the recovery of nature and fight climate change.
CPRE is calling on the Government to:
- Prioritise investment in Green Belt in its forthcoming 25-year plan for the environment. The benefits of such investment to people would be high, given that the Green Belt is the nearest countryside to 30 million people in our largest towns and cities.
- Reiterate its commitment to protecting the Green Belt as a permanent area of undeveloped land in the forthcoming Housing White Paper.
- CPRE is also calling on local government in and around large towns and cities to:
- Use regional park funding models more widely.
- Introduce long-term management plans in order to deliver enhancements to natural capital and recreational opportunities.
- Market the Green Belt as a visitor destination in its own right.
- Create new Green Belts in areas where the evidence suggests they will have most benefit.
To read the full report click here.