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CPRE President Emma Bridgewater visits Cornwall

CPRE President visits threatened landscapes and affordable housing projects

The president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Emma Bridgewater visited Cornwall on Wednesday (16 November) to discuss pressing countryside issues with local activists.

Taking in some of Cornwall’s glorious but often overlooked inland rural landscapes, Emma met with CPRE volunteers, representatives for affordable housing initiatives and parish councillors to discuss past and current concerns.

Starting in the village of  Troon Emma met with local campaigner Rachel Goodman of the Troon Residents Action Group, which is fighting proposals to build 70 units of mixed-housing on green fields currently used by villagers. Emma was keen to find out how the campaign was progressing and the feedback the action group had received from residents.

troon2Emma Bridgewater at fields threatened with development, Troon

Emma then went to the village of Stihians for a tour of a 100% affordable housing scheme, which, in contrast to Troon, will provide affordable homes for people, in the first instance, that have a connection to the village. Emma took a site tour with Chair of the Stithians Parish Council Phil Blease, Karen Goldup from Coastline Housing and Ben Nokes of Kier Living. They discussed the importance of balancing housing needs with landscape protection and engaging residents in neighbourhood planning.

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Phil Blease, Emma Bridgewater and Ben Noakes at Stithians affordable

housing development

Emma Bridgewater, president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said of the visit:

“I have really enjoyed meeting members of CPRE and other countryside activists. It is great to see them in action, working hard to protect these beautiful landscapes and, at the same time, supporting affordable homes for local people.

“Poorly planned development is threatening Cornwall’s famous countryside and coast, and local people are right to want a better future. We need to put more power in the hands of local people through this wonderful thing called neighbourhood planning, and invest more in brownfield sites that can provide new homes.”

Karen Goldup, Development Manager for Coastline Housing said,

“Coastline was pleased to be able to share progress on the Stithians project with CPRE and the Parish Council, and discuss the difficulties of sustainable rural development. We know only too well the challenges local people face in rural locations in relation to affordability, accessibility and availability of housing.

“Coastline is committed to addressing these issues through our developments, of which the 25 homes for local people in the village of Stithians are a great example of what is possible through close work with the Parish Council and community.”

Gillian Grant, trustee for CPRE Cornwall, commented:

“We are delighted that Emma Bridgewater has been able to see for herself the very real threats our beautiful countryside and coast faces every day as well as the need for genuinely affordable housing instead of all the open market housing that we are having foisted on us in Cornwall, without any proven need.

“Developers are targeting green fields around our towns and villages resulting in unnecessary urban sprawl, and local people feel the planning system is letting them down. It really is quite disgraceful as well as unsustainable.

“A strong Local Plan that reflects the real housing numbers needed in Cornwall as opposed to the numbers developers tell us we need, as well as funding and logistical support for neighbourhood planning across the county would make a real difference.”

Phil Blease, Leader of Stithians Parish Council said,

“We welcome the development of 25 affordable homes, for rent and shared-ownership, and we hope this will support residents in the village and parish to stay and live as part of the community they have roots in. We need to ensure that future development within the Parish is proportionate and sustainable and will not overload the local infrastructure. We clearly do not want large-scale additional housing developments that would change the nature and character of our community.”

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Karen Goldup (Coastline Housing Ltd.), Phil Blease (Stithians Parish Council), Ben Noakes (Kier Living)

Emma Bridgewater (CPRE President) and Gill Grant (CPRE Cornwall Trustee)

[All photographs copyrighted to Heather Lindsay-Chapman]


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