THE Hampshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is inviting Hampshire local authorities and residents to join them in their quest to plan for a greener Hampshire.

CPRE Hampshire is currently working on its ‘Strategic Vision’, which aims to galvanise a more balanced, holistic approach to growth and the needs of all who live and work in Hampshire to ensure the protection of the environment as well as the future prosperity of the county.

Today Hampshire is facing many challenges and there are huge pressures to grow our economy and build more houses. We must plan effectively, fully valuing our countryside and environment. We live in one of the world’s most advanced and prosperous countries and we must plan growth with responsibility to our communities, both urban and rural and our delicate environment.

More unplanned and uncoordinated sprawl is not an acceptable way ahead.

With local authorities planning for their areas through their Local Development Plans, CPRE Hampshire would like to see these plans working better together to set an ambitious vision for Hampshire’s people, economy, infrastructure and environment.

We know local authorities are under an enormous amount of pressure. With the government’s call for more house building, this has put local authorities under the spotlight to provide plans for these homes.

However, in some areas in Hampshire, where they are bordered by two or three authorities, councils aren’t working together which is leading to a rise in knock-on effects. Green spaces are being swallowed up, there are significant traffic issues, infrastructure concerns, little affordable housing and an unprecedented uprising of local residents.

We’ve long held the belief that current plans and policies for the county put economic benefit before Hampshire’s people and our natural environment. We need to get the message to government that a balance must be reached between growing our economy and preserving our natural environment for future generations.

CPRE Hampshire believes that the demise of structure plans for the county and regional plans for the southeast removed the strategic framework for managing the impact of new development pressures. This in turn has led to a fall out in cohesive working and a subsequent unplanned ‘free for all’ for the developers.

We now need a strategic vision that brings our local authorities together to plan for growth in a better way, respecting the distinctiveness of our towns and cities and the countryside that makes Hampshire so special. It is a common-sense approach to have a shared and agreed long-term strategy.

Across the county we’re all noticing the pressures of this uncoordinated growth, whether it’s our commute taking longer, being unable to get a doctor’s appointment or our favourite walking spots being built on. The lack of strategic planning is making it impossible to find solutions that work for us, for the economy, for our infrastructure and for our environment.

This is why we’re calling our local authorities to lift their heads above their districts and work better together, so we can plan a brighter future for all of Hampshire.

CPRE Hampshire, which is part of the national environmental charity, CPRE, is a registered charity with the objective being to promote and encourage the improvement, protection and preservation of the countryside of Hampshire and its towns and villages, and the better development of the rural environment.

Working with like-minded organisations is key to the success of CPRE Hampshire.

It aims to work in an open, collaborative and networked approach with politicians, business leaders, farmers, conservation bodies, academics, service providers, the local community, including the young, and all key decision makers, for a joined-up approach to the problem.

Visit the website to see how you can help the CPRE

Dee Haas, Chairman, CPRE Hampshire.