Seventy-six people attended our 2015 AGM on Friday. it was a chance to hear about our campaigns over the year April 2014 – March 2015 and to look ahead to the branch priorities for the next year.
AGM, Lenham, 2015, photo Paul Buckley
It was also a chance to say goodbye and thank you to some of our important volunteers and staff.
Brian Lloyd with Christine Drury, photo by Paul Buckley
Brian Lloyd has been senior Planner since 2007 and will be leaving in early 2016. He was awarded “for his exceptional work at the forefront of influencing planning policy across Kent, particularly his invaluable contributions to consultations on local plans.”
Anyone interested in the countryside is invited to attend the annual general meeting of the Dover district committee of CPRE Kent on Saturday 31st October.
The guest speaker is Elvira Gabos from Southern Water who will talk about flooding, drought and water quality. The meeting, at 2pm at the Guildhall, Sandwich will also hear chairman Derek Wanstall’s report about campaigning and activities in the last year and will elect the new committee.
Major issues in the Dover area include the plans for more than 600 homes on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) at Farthingloe, the major redevelopment of Lydden Hill Race Circuit and transport issues associated with the port.
October 21st 2015
The 2015 AGM of CPRE Kent will be held on Friday 20th November at Lenham Village Hall.
The meeting will start at 2pm and is preceded by a ploughman’s lunch at 12.30 for those who wish to book.
Aerial view of Lenham, photo by Peter Bailey
This year the keynote speaker is Andrew Brown, BA PhD MCIfA, Planning and Conservation Director, South East Planning Group, Historic England and he will talk about “Championing Kent’s Historic Environment”.
At the meeting the Honorary Officers and members of the Board will be elected, accounts considered and membership and volunteering opportunities discussed.
To view the agenda click here.
To view the invitation and book the ploughman’s lunch click here.
To read the minutes of the 2014 AGM click here.
To read the Director’s report and unaudited financial statements to 31 March 2015 click here.
More than 150 villagers attended a public meeting on Friday (October 2nd) to discuss plans for a 28 acre solar farm in Headcorn.
Library photo of solar panels
Solar Securities is seeking planning permission to create a 29,400 panel solar farm at Great Tong Farm which it says will power 1,029 homes.
The meeting at Headcorn Village Hall was called by Faversham and Mid Kent MP Helen Whately and speakers included Richard Knox-Johnston, CPRE Kent Vice President, as well as Protect our Weald and the Weald of Kent Preservation Society.
Mr Knox-Johnston said the site would have a significant impact on the landscape, would be seen http://www.onlinepharmacytabs.com from the Greensand Ridge and was close to 23 listed buildings. Residents expressed concern about possible flooding risk and access.
Maidstone Borough Council policy and resources committee recently voted to create a Low Weald Landscape of Local value and it is hoped this, and the views of local people, will be taken into account when deciding on the scheme. Ulcombe Parish Council discussed the application on Thursday (October 1st) and Headcorn Parish Council will decide on the plans on October 14th in its meeting at 8pm in the village hall. The deadline for responses to the planning application is October 15th
October 7th 2015
The Green Belt: it’s where we relax, where we watch wildlife, where we cycle and walk and picnic. The wonderful views and the tranquillity of open countryside is so important to our health and well-being. That is why CPRE has launched a campaign to protect it in its sixtieth anniversary year.
The Green Belt is massively under attack from developers seeking to encroach on to the green buffer created sixty years ago to provide distinction between towns and villages – a vital green lung around the built up areas.
Lullingstone park, photo by Susan Pittman
In Kent we have a large amount of Green Belt – 93% of Sevenoaks, 77% of Gravesham, 71% of Tonbridge and Malling, 56% of Dartford and 22% of Tunbridge Wells. If you love your Green Belt please get involved by sharing your photos, memories, creative works or just your support and thoughts via #ourgreenbelt.
Lavender at Castle Farm, Lullingstone, photo by Glen Humble
We will use this to convince the Government that the Green Belt needs protection and must be preserved for our future and our children’s future.
For more information click here.
September 8th 2015.
CPRE Kent disputed the housing target and strategic sites identified in the Canterbury Local Plan at Stage 1 of the Examination in July.
We had already warned that Canterbury City Council should have carried out further consultations on the plan when it greatly increased its housing target to 15,600 homes.
Photo by Steffan Boelaars, flickr
In January 2010, the council consulted on a Local Plan with a target of 10,200 new homes by 2026 (510 per year). In 2012, this target was revised to 15,600 new homes by 2031 (780 per year). However, despite the significant increase, the council relied on its earlier environmental assessments of where new development should be located.
“Despite our warnings, the City Council is pressing ahead with its flawed plan,” said CPRE Kent Senior Planner Brian Lloyd. “The council has seemingly, from the outset, cast in stone the sites it wants to see developed, and despite high levels of public opposition it has not been prepared to consider alternatives. We still believe that the plan is unsound.”
It was great to meet so many people at the Kent County Show last weekend (Friday 10th-Sunday 12th). Marketing Manager Vicky Ellis and lots of our volunteers and members chatted to visitors from across the county and beyond with our latest campaign news on our work to protect the wonderful Kent countryside.
The free prize draw to win a bird hamper, including bird box and feed, donated by Dobbies in Ashford, was won by Liz Stamp from Rainham.
The next event we are attending is Tractor fest in Biddenden on 22-23 August.
Around 130 voters turned out last night to hear the Maidstone and the Weld candidates discuss issues ranging from local plans to infrastructure to climate change.
The debate at Oakwood House was organised by CPRE Kent to ensure that protection of the countryside is high on the political agenda.
L-R from front: Hannah Patton, Richard Knox-Johnston, Jasper Gerard, Helen grant, Christine Drury, Eddie Powell, Allen Simpson, Paul Hobday
CPRE Kent Vice President Richard Knox-Johnston, who chaired the event, said: “The beauty of England’s countryside is a national treasure renowned throughout the world. But with short-term economic needs dominating the political agenda, the countryside is under increasing pressure. While housing and infrastructure are undoubtedly needed, inappropriate siting incurring loss of the countryside is often the result; despite alternative options that can deliver the development we need while safeguarding a beautiful and living countryside. “
CPRE is calling on all parties to develop better policies so we have:
- the right housing in the right places
- the right transport and energy for the right reasons
- a beautiful countryside to sustain us all
Over 40 people were at Turner Contemporary on Tuesday (17th March) to discuss the role of heritage in regeneration, promotion of tourism and preparation of local heritage lists. The meeting was a follow-up to our own workshop in November.
James Kennell, Director of Economic Development Resource Centre
James Kennell of Greenwich University provoked a lot of discussion with his review of different approaches to “regeneration”, giving examples throughout the UK and abroad, and of how successive governments have approached regeneration issues. He described some key factors needed to attract tourists to an area and increase their contribution to the local economy. He emphasised that it is not enough to just have heritage assets; they need to be presented in the right way.
Margate Civic Society and the Margate Neighbourhood Plan Forum are hosting a symposium at Turner Contemporary on 17th March 2015 for all who are interested in preparing Local Lists of historic buildings. This is a follow-up to our own meeting last November, targeted at the East Kent area, but open to all to attend. It is an all-day event that will explore the process in more detail.
The keynote address will be given by James Kennell of the University of Greenwich Business School, who has written extensively on coastal cultural regeneration and tourism. The Sevenoaks Society will update us on their local listing project in Sevenoaks Town, and our own Historic Buildings Committee will illustrate the need for Local Lists with some recent case notes. The agenda is on the Margate Civic Society website.
Local Lists will be a record of the buildings which are treasured by the community and will help district councils in preparing their heritage policies for Local Plans and in determining planning applications. CPRE Kent Historic Buildings Committee wants to see all planning authorities in Kent and Medway adopting such lists and is keen to get all civic societies and local historical societies involved, as well as those preparing Neighbourhood Plans.
To register your interest in the symposium, contact Geoff Orton at Margate Civic Society.
Members of the Gravesham District Committee of CPRE Kent together with the Gravesham Rural Resident Group (GRRG) met with Minister of State for Housing and Planning Brandon Lewis on February 9th 2015. The meeting was organised by Gravesham MP Adam Holloway.
They wanted to raise their concerns about threats to the Green Belt from development plans. Gravesham Borough Council is revising its Green Belt boundary as part of its housing delivery review. CPRE Kent and the GRRG are opposed to any erosion of the Green Belt and the implications of any such erosion would stretch far beyond Kent.
Members of the delegation including Adam Holloway MP, CPRE Kent’s Richard Knox- Johnston and Alex Hills and GRRG Chairman James Ferrin as well as parish councillors
Chairman of the Gravesham Committee, Alex Hills said: “He made it absolutely clear that Strategic Housing Land Assessments (SHLAAs) should regard the Green Belt as an environmental constraint and housing supply figures must be adjusted to accommodate this. He also stressed that councils behind on delivering their five year housing supply target should not use that as an excuse to build on the Green Belt.”
Mr Lewis also called on all rural areas to form their own neighbourhood plans.
February 11th 2015
One hundred delegates, two MPs, experts from Kent County Council, the Environment Agency and the influential Committee on Climate Change and many members of CPRE Kent attended our highly successful conference – Flooding: Facts, Fears and the Future.
The event was organised by CPRE Kent, in conjunction with Kent County Council, to draw attention to the major threat of flooding to the county, to consider the lessons learned from the devastating floods of Christmas/New Year 2013-14 and to share opportunities to reduce risk in the future.
The event was covered on BBC South East today, BBC Radio Kent and ITV Meridian as well as local newspapers.
Yalding, Christmas 2013, Photo – BBC South East
CPRE Kent Vice-President Richard Knox-Johnston
Opening and chairing the event, CPRE Vice-president Richard Knox-Johnston, said; “If we rewind to the situation just over one year ago we must remind ourselves that it could happen again. We want to raise awareness of how it happened; were communications adequate; how successfully did the agencies work together; were the insurance claims handled efficiently and fairly; was there adequate support for people forced to leave their homes and what action is being taken to address future risk?”
He added: “It is a sobering fact that houses are still being built in flood risk areas.”
Residents, environmental experts, parish and district councillors and people working in flood-related industries have booked places at the high profile flooding conference, Flooding: Fears, Facts and the Future, taking place in Kent this Friday (6th February).
The conference, at Sessions House, Maidstone, is jointly organised by CPRE Kent and Kent County Council. Topics include: the lessons learned from the devastating floods of last winter; changing climate and flood risk; safe development in areas threatened by flood; and the impact on farming.
Photo: Jacqueline Grimsley
“This is an important conference for people living in Kent, a county which has suffered greatly from floods in recent years. We will hear the very latest plans on flood prevention and emergency response as well as some innovative and exciting ideas for the future,” said Hilary Newport, Director of CPRE Kent.
Speakers include the Rt Hon Damian Green MP, David Thomas, Senior Analyst at the Committee on Climate Change and Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council.
Places are still available at the conference which runs from 9.30am-4pm (registration from 8.45am) and includes lunch and refreshments. Booking is via Eventbrite, click here. For the full programme click here.
February 6th 2015
Our meeting in November brought together a number of people and organisations from all over the county with an interest in helping district planning authorities prepare local lists of heritage assets. Members of the Sevenoaks Society described their project to list historic buildings in Sevenoaks town and the meeting discussed how similar projects could be progressed elsewhere. The record of the meeting is here.
Things are moving on in Thanet, with a follow-up meeting being organised for February/March. Representatives from the main civic societies in Thanet are involved, as well as colleagues in Sandwich and Deal. If you want to be kept informed, contact our Historic Buildings Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An exciting programme has been announced for Flooding: fears, Facts and the Future, the conference on 6th February 2015 organised jointly by CPRE Kent and Kent County Council.
Photo, Nick Blackman, flickr
- The Rt Hon Damian Green MP: Safe Development in an area of flooding, looking at experience in Ashford as a high housing growth area which is threatened by floods;
- David Thomas, Senior Analyst at the Committee on Climate Change: Adapting to a changing climate – is planning policy addressing future flood risk?
- Paul Crick, Director of Development, Planning and Enforcement at KCC: Lessons learned from the storms and floods of Christmas/ New year 2013-14;
- Geraldine Brown, Chairman of Yalding Parish Council: The Yalding Experience;
- Espen Ostbye-Strom, Chief Operating Officer, Floodline Development: Making the most of available land – how we can build on flood risk areas safely;
- Christine Drury, Chairman of CPRE Kent: The Romney Marsh Challenge – looking at the impact on farming in this special area.