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Protection for Greensand Ridge

November 14, 2018 9:08 AM
By Brian Clark

Lib Dems seek National Protection for Greensand Ridge and Maidstone borough's "Landscapes of Local Value" sites

Lib Dem Maidstone Borough Councillor Brian Clark has successfully gained cross party support for a proposal to strengthen the "Landscape of Local Value" sites identified in Maidstone's Local Plan, and progress a Lib Dem initiative spearheaded by Cllr Tony Harwood to gain "Area of National Beauty" (ANOB) designation for the wildlife rich Greensand Ridge. At November's Strategic Planning and Sustainable Transport (SPST) committee meeting, Maidstone Council officers recommended that the committee consider AONB 'sub-tier' protection for the Greensand Ridge but Cllr Clark, in seeking to progress his group's determination to gain greater countryside protection, proposed that the borough instead seek full ANOB status for site.

In addition, Cllr Clark gained cross party agreement for the council to seek ANOB sub-tier designation for all of the borough's other "Landscape of Local Value" areas including the Loose Valley, Len Valley, Medway Valley and Low Weald. The proposal was seconded by Cllr Munford (Ind. Ward Councillor Boughton Monchelsea) and gained unanimous support from committee members.

Green Sand ridge - Bought0n Monchelsea

After the meeting Cllr Clark stated, "Government is reviewing AONB and National Parks policy and has invited bids for new protected landscapes. During a previous review we were successful in gaining ancient woodland designation for Mangravet Wood and Five Acre Wood in South ward." Cllr Sue Grigg, Vice Chair of SPST added, "With such a high degree of pressure on our valued local landscapes from development, it will be a great benefit to the borough if we can achieve strong nationally recognised protection from Natural England"

Recognising Cllr Clark and Cllr Grigg's advocacy on behalf of the Greensand Ridge, councillor Tony Harwood stated: "AONB status delivers protection from development equivalent to that of a National Park and would lever in significant grant funding which will enable local farmers and other land managers to restore and enhance our local woodland, parkland and orchards, as well as the wildlife which depends upon these habitats".