On April 24, 2016, in Uncategorized, by vic

It has been getting worse by the year, but the Caerphilly Replacement Local Development Plan issue has brought it to a head. There is s real revolt against an LDP chaged from being based on brownfield development, to a completely diiferent one with huge areas of greenfield development. But communites are revolting
Some people describe this as ‘Selling out to the Developers’ But it is winding up into a big issue, and is bringing out into the open the huge deficiencies of the planning system in Wales (and England, reading CPRE), which include – my list: -

  • politicians & planners thinking continuous economic growth is essential (even possible);
  • economic and social priorities always trumping the third ‘triple bottom line’ criteria – environmental;
  • more housing is always the headline, but there is no clear assessment of need, empty properties, etc
  • biodiversity and the environment are luxuries that cannot be afforded;
  • the natural environment will accommodate any development thrown at it. (What’s just another field?)
  • planners & politicians know better than residents and communities (paternalism);
  • democracy and engagement are nuisances, and should be minimised;
  • an LDP does not include a business plan, which would demonstrate how the Plan will improve the lives of residents and future generations (together with a checklist that can be monitored). Planners will say that they have to monitor housing starts – nowhere near good enough;
  • also lacking – a proper assessment of how an LDP will affect the evironment into the future (together with a checklist against sustainability requrements)

Local Authorities such as Caerphilly have a blinkered ‘silo’ mentality, ignoring what is happening just over the border (ie 42.000 new houses in Cardiff). They insist on being self-sufficient, even when it doesn’t make sense. But regional planning is coming in Wales, under the Planning Act

What we need is a Campaign for Open Planning

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On December 22, 2015, in Uncategorized, by vic

Dear Earth Environment – I know you are having a difficult time, what with us polluting the air and water, concreting chunks of countryside, poisoning pollinators, destroying wlldlife habitats, using up non-renewables, wasting energy  …. but some of us humans are trying to change things, and persuade others that you need more life support.

It should be straightforward, because if we lose you, it is also curtains for us, but some humans only think short-term, ignoring even their own future generations. Can you believe that?

So we’ll keep on making the case for you, old friend, and we do have some hope – the Climate Change Conference in Paris recently was pretty good. I’m working for you in Wales. Maybe we’ll both have a Happy New Year.   Vic



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#GivingTuesday – can you support CPRW?

On November 30, 2015, in Uncategorized, by vic




There are many wonderful landscapes in Wales,

but threats to the countryside and rural life keep appearing

                                                                                                                                                                              Copyright Visit Wales

CPRW is the only independent charity working to protect rural Wales, as it has been for over 80 years. But it needs help, so we are taking part in #GivingTuesday (Dec 1st). This is a global day to remember a charity for Christmas, and we hope you will support CPRW. Please use the day (or shortly after) to join us, or support the work we do through a donation.

You can read about CPRW and donate on our website (above), or you can text us a small donation from your mobile phone via JustGiving – text 70070 and write CPRW28 £5 (or whatever amount you wish). The donation is added to your phone bill. And / or, donate whilst you buy online – see the ‘Support Us’ section of the CPRW website.

Also an opportunity – if you are connected with a business, we are seeking sponsors for an edition of our glossy magazine ‘Rural Wales – get a message to our 1500 readers all over Wales

To give you a few examples of successful CPRW campaigns over the years: -

  • 2015 – Mid-Wales Wind Farms Inquiry – Energy minister Andrea Leadsom refused planning permission for four major onshore wind farms. CPRW was a major player in the campaign.

  • 2004 – New bridge over the River Monnow opens. CPRW Monmouthshire (John Edwards) was instrumental in re-siting it away from the great medieval gated bridge

  • 1995 – Usk Barrage – CPRW was a leading objector, the proposal was refused.

  • 1984 – Saltmarshes at Pembry saved from development by CPRW Pembrokeshire branch

  • 1976 – A55 crossing of River Dee planned as a bridge, but changed to a tunnel, so the  estuary beauty and castle view were saved by CPRW Conwy branch, led by Lady White

But the list above is a small part of the daily efforts of our campaigning. For example, Newport & Valleys branch, with a small committee, dealt with 14 proposals in the first 9 months of this year; whilst our professional Director debates & lobbies on national policy in the Assembly, Cardiff Bay.

If you also care about Wales, please join or donate to CPRW – and If you’re not local, then #GivingTuesday is a great reminder to come and visit our wonderful Wales!