Cheddar Gorge at 'risk of vandalism by development'
Interest in a Cheddar Gorge cable car is doing the rounds on Twitter thanks to national newspaper stories today. But we broke the news first. See our Related Articles for all the background on the cable car plan
Cheddar Gorge is one of ten treasured landscapes highlighted as being at risk of vandalism by development in a new report.
Countryside near Malmesbury, in Wiltshire, and near Blandford in Dorset is also highlighted.
Sir Andrew Motion, president of the Campaign for Rural England and former Poet Laureate warns that the Government drive for growth is creating an atmosphere in which all development is seen as beneficial, and protection for national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty is being undermined.
FREE WHEATGERM WITH EVERY POND HEATER www.blagdon-water-gardens.c...View details
Protect your pond fish this winter. Purchase the resun 100w pond heater £39.99 from www.blagdon-water-gardens.co.uk and we will give you a pot of Tetra wheatgerm 1l winter fishfood worth £4.99 FREE
Contact: 01934 316673
Valid until: Friday, February 28 2014
Cheddar Gorge is in the Mendip Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Longleat Estates, which owns part of the Gorge, has proposed a controversial cable car to take visitors on a dramatic journey through the deep gash in Mendip's limestone hills.
The idea has appalled some, but has been welcomed by others as a way of boosting visitor numbers which have fallen from 309,00 in the mid-1990s to 165,000 in 2010. The idea includes an education centre.
No planning application has yet been made.
Environmentalists are calling for a Parliamentary inquiry into the Government's planning policies.
Sir Andrew said: "The English countryside is our great collective masterpiece – and any development that needlessly damages it is an act of vandalism. CPRE is observing a growing number of cases where this type of defacement is happening.
"Alarmingly threats are even extending into some of our most beautiful landscapes such as our national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty and into locally valued landscapes.
"I want to make it clear that I do not believe that our politicians are deliberately setting out to degrade and destroy our landscapes.
"However they have created an atmosphere where all development is seen as good development. When even our protected countryside is at risk, what hope is there for our unprotected, but equally loved, ordinary countryside."
CPRE chief executive Shaun Spiers said: "On paper, designated landscapes have the highest level of protection in planning policy. But as our report today shows, there is growing pressure to approve disastrous development.
"It is just far too easy for developers to get their way at fatal cost to our precious landscapes. Our report provides further clear evidence that the current planning framework is not nearly as robust as it needs to be.
"We need to strengthen planning policies before it's too late. The nation deserves better protection for its irreplaceable countryside."
The CPRE called for urgent action to strengthen national planning policy by giving greater weight to the protection of nationally designated and locally valued landscapes.
It also wants ministers to recognise the contribution that national parks and AONBs make to the economy and review cuts to their funding in advance of the imminent spending review.