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Press Release: 5th July 2010

CPRE South Hampshire Group pushes back

An environmental campaigning group in South Hampshire has a new lease of life, led by ex-founding member of SHUV (South Hampshire's Unheard Voices), Caroline Dibden. An experienced countryside campaigner for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Caroline hosted a meeting of the CPRE South Hampshire Group at Bishop's Waltham Church Hall in June to discuss new threats to the South of Hampshire sub-region. There have been significant changes to planning structures since the creation of the new South Downs National Park, and decisions as a result of the recent General Election.

A number of representatives of parish councils, amenity societies, residents' associations and local action groups attended the meeting to voice their concerns about a perceived focus of the Councils-run Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) on economic development, in the absence of definite housing number plans now that the Government has decided to abolish the South East Plan and pass decision-making on planning and housing back to individual local councils.

CPRE Hampshire is calling for the role of sub-regional boundaries to be reconsidered and for a fresh look at the need for strategic green gaps or the introduction of Green Belt in the area, to constrain development and protect rural areas that are valued by people in local communities. The charity is also questioning the justification for Strategic Development Areas that had been proposed under the South East Plan, at North of Fareham and at Hedge End.

A letter has been sent by the Campaign to Protect Rural England's South Hampshire Group to the Executive Director of PUSH, Anne-Marie Mountifield in advance of a PUSH meeting to be held on 7th July. The main question for consideration, supported by a three page letter (pdf)from CPRE asks:

"Will PUSH and its constituent Local Authorities take this opportunity of changed circumstances to engage directly with local communities in the urban and rural areas of the South Hampshire sub-region in order to review the current strategy and development proposals for South Hampshire, with a view to achieving wide public support for the outcome of that review?"

Caroline Dibden said:

"We are in favour of affordable housing but we need the right level of local housing for local people. We think the PUSH targets set under the South East Plan were expensive and impossible to achieve, so a full review of requirements is needed now."

- Ends -

CPRE/H/191


Notes to editors

CPRE Hampshire strives to promote the beauty, tranquility and diversity of the countryside of Hampshire by the sustainable use of land and other resources in town and country, and encouraging the biodiversity and well-being of rural communities.

For all media enquiries, please contact:
Keren Burney, media & communications officer, CPRE Hampshire
Tel: 01730 894123   Mobile: 07876 780065
Email: kburney@compege.co.uk

For information on CPRE, please contact:
Anthony McEwen, Director, CPRE Hampshire
Tel: 01962 779185   Mobile: 07717 296025
Email:anthony.mcewen@cprehampshire.org.uk


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