2020 in review
2020 has been a challenging year, but CPRE Bedfordshire staff and volunteers quickly adapted to new ways of doing things and have been working hard to make the Bedfordshire countryside a better place for everyone to live, work and enjoy.
Here are just some of the things we’ve been up to this year:
We’ve enjoyed working with local action groups, communities and parish councils to help deliver positive outcomes across Bedfordshire:
- Swineshead – we joined Pertenhall & Swineshead Parish Council and a local Action Group in their effort to stop a local farmer from destroying around 800 metres of field hedgerow.
- Willington – we made a Call-In request to support Willington Parish Council’s ambition to decide where development takes place in their community through their Neighbourhood Plan.
- Harrold Lake – we supported Harrold Village Action Group in their opposition to a proposed development in an unsustainable location on the edge of the Lake in a location which had previously been rejected by the Harrold Parish Council Neighbourhood Development Plan Group for such a large development.
- Clifton – we worked with the Clifton Action Group and local residents, who responded in significant numbers to an application for 39 houses on an unsuitable location, leading to a positive outcome for the community.
- Eaton Bray – The Bower Lane Action Group together with the Parish Council and supported by CPRE Bedfordshire, won the battle to protect over 7 ha of Green Belt east of the village and within the setting of an area of valued landscape to local residents.
- Langford – CPRE Bedfordshire and Langford Parish Council vigorously opposed the proposed development of 55 new homes that were to be built in countryside, on the northern edge of the village and close to the River Ivel. The village’s Neighbourhood Plan was nearing completion and this site had not been allocated for development within it.
Examinations, consultations and applications
Our team have responded to a wide variety of applications, consultations and inquiries:
- Together with CPRE Hertfordshire we strongly objected to the expansion of London Luton Airport from 18 to 32 million passengers per annum.
- A Briefing Document was produced in response to requests from Town and Parish Council members and non-members who asked for our views on Bedford Borough Council’s Issues and Options Consultation.
- CPRE Bedfordshire’s planning volunteers were present at the final stage of the Examination by Government appointed Inspectors into Central Bedfordshire Council’s Local Plan 2035. We have been given the opportunity by the Inspectors to speak and make our case at all of the Hearing days, standing up for the countryside and sustainable development.
We launched our new website in January 2020 which is helping us to reach even more people. New features include:
- Separate sections for each Local Authority so that you can find the news closest to you.
- Our blog – during 2020 our contributors have been exploring the theme ‘celebrating the everyday’.
- A days out section – filled with walks and places to visit
During lockdown we’ve been helping people connect to the nature on their doorsteps through:
- Our lockdown photo competition – our most popular to date!
- Sharing reading suggestions, tips and ideas on our website and social media channels
- The summer edition of Bedfordshire Matters – packed full of features and news
Volunteers are very much at the heart of CPRE Bedfordshire and make a real difference to our work.
- During Volunteer’s Week in June we were pleased be one of the first ten CPRE groups to launch Assemble, our new volunteer management system. Assemble enables us to communicate with volunteers in an easy, straightforward way and will greatly improve our ability to recruit, train, manage and support all our wonderful volunteers.
- We’ve been delighted to welcome a number of new volunteers to the team during 2020, including some talented photographers who will be helping us develop our photo library.
We’ve already started planning for 2021:
- The Living Countryside Awards will be going digital.
- Help us map light pollution in Bedfordshire by taking part in CPRE’s annual Star Count in February.
- We will be creating a wider range of volunteer opportunities.