More than just ‘the view’ – valuing the East Hampshire landscape

23rd July 2020

A team of expert volunteers from CPRE Hampshire, the countryside charity, have carried out a detailed assessment of the landscape north of the A31 in the vicinity of the site of the proposed Veolia Energy Recovery Facility between Alton and Bentley. They have concluded that it is countryside of such high quality as to qualify as Valued Landscape, which is required to be protected from adverse impacts.   

In making this assessment the team from CPRE Hampshire considered the character and physical distinctiveness of the area, and the experience of the landscape as enjoyed by the public from public viewpoints and rights of way.

CPRE Hampshire’s Landscape Assessment highlights:

  • the attractive and distinctive rural landscape with fine long-distance views over the Wey Valley to the South Downs National Park and to the west towards Alton;
  • the high quality chalk landscape in the upper part of the valley, where Holybourne Down is one of the highest points in Hampshire, along with an overall sense of tranquillity;
  • the high quality public experience of this landscape from viewpoints, and rights of way including the much used St Swithun’s Way long distance path;
  • the important contribution of this landscape character of the Wey Valley.

Christopher Napier OBE, of CPRE Hampshire, said:

“Landscape is more than just ‘the view’. The relationship between people, place and nature is the ever-changing backdrop to our daily lives. What turns land into landscape is our perception of a place, combining how we appreciate its aesthetic qualities – its patterns, colours, smells, textures and sounds – and the associations we attach to them, such as memories, feelings of familiarity or a sense of awe.

CPRE Hampshire considers that the tract of land running northwards from the A31 in the vicinity of the proposed development site has demonstrable attributes which raises it above the ordinary, such that it is a “valued landscape” which requires it to be protected according to the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework).”

In relation to the Large Settlements consultation by East Hampshire District Council, CPRE Hampshire has evaluated the landscape along the A31 from Bentley to Four Marks and identified four other Valued Landscapes.

CPRE Hampshire, with input from local volunteers, is developing its response to the Veolia planning application, to include water, transport, waste and minerals, and will be submitting it to Hampshire County Council by 14 August 2020.

To view the Landscape Assessment, please click here: CPRE Hampshire’s Landscape Assessment.

Valued Landscape - area north of the A31
More than just ‘the view’ - valuing the East Hampshire landscape Christopher Napier