Staffordshire - Campaign to Protect Rural England

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East Staffs District Group

Abbots Bromley Abbots Bromley

Our committee continues to meet regularly to discuss and decide actions to take on the ever-present threats to the countryside. Members also attend meetings of local opposition groups to give support. The past year has been dominated by the three main issues affecting East Staffordshire; HS2, excessive housing developments and wind turbines.

Now that the HS2 route to Manchester has been published it confirms fears that it will degrade many miles of Staffordshire countryside. We continue to press for actions to mitigate the damage it will cause to our beautiful rural landscapes and a meeting is to be held with Michael Fabricant M.P for our area when our Technical Adviser Phil Goode will put forward positive CPRE proposals.

East Staffordshire is beset with what we consider to be unnecessarily large or misplaced housing proposals, particularly in the Trent Valley. Our Technical Adviser has strongly refuted the need for the high numbers of dwellings planned by the East Staffordshire Borough Council. Concentration of building adjacent to towns rather than in the countryside is to be desired, but one recently unveiled plan is disappointing. In our report for 2010 we mentioned that we had complimented the planners for the announcement that a pleasant stretch of agricultural land abutting the Needwood Scarp that frames the western edge of Burton upon Trent was to be preserved as parkland for public enjoyment. However it has been revealed recently that on the land will be built 2500 houses, 1m sq.ft of industry, shops, retail establishments, health and community centres, a care home, a pub, and an 80 bed hotel. There will be some sports facilities and woodland on what little remains. Huge, further, 5000 house developments are proposed further south in the Trent Valley.

Without the opposition of local action groups and members of the public there would be a serious proliferation of wind turbines. Landowners and farmers are attracted by the over-generous subsidies on offer. However there is a growing realisation that these distracting industrial machines could become a serious blight on our landscapes with very little contribution to electricity supplies.  Significant influences in 2012 have been the Staffordshire County Council Wind Energy Position Statement of Concern over large scale wind turbines, and the landmark High Court ruling of May 29th which stated that national policy on renewables does not have primacy over local landscape policies.

We have opposed many planning applications adding our arguments to those of local people. The proposed installation of four turbines at Hogs Hill, fought for several years, has been amended yet again and is now down to two, but the opposition of the locals remains as fierce.   Huge turbines at Bagots Park, Curborough, Hammerwich, and individual lesser ones at Marchington Woodlands, Abbots Bromley and Netherland Green have all been refused permission in the past year. At Uttoxeter there was furious opposition to a plan to place an 87m monster on land designated for sports and public enjoyment. An East Staffs committee member who lives locally put great effort and skill into the protest group. Ultimately permission for that turbine was refused, but there will be many more to fight.

With the ever-increasing threats to the countryside we receive requests for advice from a wide range of individuals and Parish Councils.  We are glad to provide certain assistance but with an awareness of the pressing need for new members we always take the opportunity to point out our charitable status and that our funds and facilities arise from the subscriptions of our members.  Membership information is sent with an encouragement to join.

P.E.Craddock Chairman

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