Celebrities back campaign to save countryside

JPCT 170413 Coffee Real Ltd launches new blend 'Born Free'.  Virginia McKenna OBE, founder and trustee of the Born Free Foundation, in attendance to roast the first batch - pictured holding the roasted beans. Photo by Derek Matin
JPCT 170413 Coffee Real Ltd launches new blend 'Born Free'. Virginia McKenna OBE, founder and trustee of the Born Free Foundation, in attendance to roast the first batch - pictured holding the roasted beans. Photo by Derek Matin

A campaign to save the English countryside was launched this week and backed by an impressive array of celebrities and politicians.

Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert and actress Virginia McKenna of the Born Free Foundation are just two of the people backing the new ‘Save Our Countryside’ campaign to prevent damage to the landscape.

By rallying a host of important figures to support the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) charter it is hoped that politicians at a local and national level will listen and take action.

Mr Herbert said: “I have supported CPRE’s Charter because I agree with the principles they set out and feel strongly about protecting the Sussex countryside.”

This comes soon after a meeting in Storrington took place earlier this month to discuss the onslaught of green field developments.

“Planning issues are of huge concern locally, as we have seen from packed public meetings in Angmering, Storrington, the five villages and Henfield.

“The Government pledged local decision-making in planning, and they must be held to that promise. When parish councils are investing a lot of time and effort in preparing their neighbourhood plans, and responsibly providing for a reasonable level of new housing, they must not be undermined by speculative planning applications from developers which are then upheld by the Inspectorate.”

The National Planning Policy Framework that was released earlier this year has been greatly criticised by residents who feel the South East plan for 75,000 homes was unrealistic and unsustainable.

Mr Herbert continued: “I want to ensure that proper weight is given to plans that are in preparation, and our district councils are truly permitted to set sustainable housing numbers.”

It is expected that a neighbourhood plan under the Localism Act will allow residents to take a more active role in the planning process.

The CRPE website states: “The cards are stacked in favour of developers. We want a democratic planning system that gives local people a stronger voice.”

Mr Herbert added: “I recognise that more affordable housing is needed for young people, but I also feel strongly that this must be provided sustainably.”

To get on board and sign the petition, visit http://bit.ly/12DGgQJ