LANDSCAPE AND TREES: WHAT ISSUES FACE US FOR A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT AND WHAT VALUE DO WE PUT ON IT?: OUR LANDSCAPE CHARACTER AND HOW SENSITIVE IS IT?
METHODOLOGY.The subject of this table is LANDSCAPE CHARACTER, WHICH INCLUDES HOW MUCH PEOPLE VALUE THE PLACE THEY LIVE IN- BOTH THE BUILT AREAS (WITHIN OR OUTSIDE A CONSERVATION AREA) AND THE LANDSCAPE. HOW SENSITIVE TO CHANGE IS IT AND HOW FAR WOULD THEY ALLOW CHANGE?
Trees were also assessed on the table for ‘Wildlife and Corridors’.
Landscape character in respect of the Conservation Area, was also discussed on the table for ‘Housing’.
A prompt sheet was given out on the table and put up as a poster to generate discussion. Those for Eastcombe and Bisley focussed on landscape character and what is valued and particularly in the light of pending changes by development, tree diseases, in particular Ash Die Back and Climate Change. Councillor Jenny Exley ran these workshops whilst Councillor Scott Sissons’ prompt for Oakridge focussed on the same pending issues.
All responses were written up and different colour coding applied to different elements that are valued. This identifies the majority wishes at the workshops. Please see the full ‘Table’ under ‘documents.’
‘Brown’ represents responses that show specific aspects that could be considered for change.
‘Red’ -all comments that represented community working and recreation.
The word ‘Conservation Area’ actually defined different types of environment: Eastcombe straddles urban and rural: Bisley ditto: whilst Oakridge had only a rural area covered by this term. This made it difficult to compare resident responses.
Those attending Eastcombe, Bisley and Oakridge workshops commented on:-
The Conservation Area: the Built Environment:-
Themes common to all villages:-Traditional buildings are greatly valued in all villages.
All attendees passionately value the place they live in.
The majority fought to protect the highly valued traditional housing.
The use of local stone and local vernacular was seen as important.
Retaining the skyline and views was key.
Specific to each village:-
Eastcombe tended to have residents who were more able to comprehend change to the ‘urban’ Conservation Area than Bisley.
Some Eastcombe residents suggested using infill in gardens within the Conservation Area to provide for downsizing and bungalows to be built for older residents.
‘Dark skies’ was not mentioned by residents as valued in Eastcombe.
Seen as semi rural with development changing it to become semi urban. Another attendee sees it as already semi urban.
Some Bisley residents suggested upgrading of accommodation in listed buildings eg solar panels double glazing and extending.
Others are strongly opposing change to the inner urban Conservation Area.
Some were offering many constructive ideas for future developments, albeit development mainly on the outskirts.
There was a split community with regards to retention of the old versus those in favour of growth to allow village to retain young people and additionally those promoting sustainable living and life styles.
Oakridge does not have any built environment within the Conservation Area which is in fact rural.
Residents hotly wanted to retain the old style housing, and offered the idea that Oakridge village should become a Conservation Area and buildings should be listed.
New buildings?:- then traditional styles, local stone and tiles should be continued.
Most comments related to the landscape rather than buildings, due to terminology of ‘Conservation Area’ and did not include the village.
‘Reviving’canal in harmony with wildlife habitats was a suggestion.
Local Green and open spaces
Themes common to all villages:_
The number of responses embracing community in all villages is exceptionally high, indicating that there is a strong bond between residents and a desire to retain community events on community spaces; teamworking.
Green spaces are part of the character.
Allotments, play areas and playing fields are highly valued.
Village green should never be built upon.
Playing fields are difficult to walk to from the north part of the village.
There are not many facilities for ‘kids.’
Positivite responses for self sufficiency and the community composting scheme.
Landscape character was the reason for moving there.
‘School relies totally on our natural environment.’
Focussed comments on SSSI’s and protection.
RURAL NATURE OF THE OAKRIDGE RESIDENTS IS FAR MORE APPARENT IN OAKRIDGE.
Woodland Trees valued
Themes common to all villages:-
Passionate about trees and the benefits for health.
-Benefits planet with co2 absorbtion and oxygen output.
-Essential for protecting against climate change.
– Enjoyment and well- being, recreation, fitness and shade.
Consideration of tree management
No comments on wildlife in this table –see wildlife corridors table
Residents keen on wildlife.
They value mature trees around Back Lane.
Some warned that with the loss of ‘green’ we would lose tourists.
The area was of national importance.
One resident mentioned the importance of butterflies.
Management of trees.
Trees –loss and Replacements
Themes common to all village
Majority of resident responses are passionate about replacing any lost through disease, or old age.
Many suggestions for replanting have been made and collated below.
Fruit trees should be planted for sustainable food production.
Habitats and food supply for wildlife should be included.
Raised in the UK
Create Community orchard
Encourage people to grow them.
Introduce to gardens with space.
Suitable species for the situation.
Orchard survey? (pre and existing)
Offered a wide variety of suggestions.
More education needed on trees.
Use trees that grow in people’s gardens to replant in community areas.
High interest in orchards, although one considered winds as making fruit trees
More hedgerows with variety of plants to withstand disease and function as
Management by knowledgeable people.
Planting by children.
Focus on hardwoods as replacements.
Natural regeneration within woods.
Planting trees with the ablility to withstand drought.
Consider possible change in CAP after Brexit and effect on the landscape character.
High interest in planting fruit trees and orchards.
Encourage landowners to clear fallen trees in fields and replant.
Actions wanted by the residents:
THEMES TO DEVELOP.
‘Dark skies’ was not mentioned by residents as valued in Eastcombe.-ACTION: follow up to see if this is actually a true representation of Eastcombe residents.
The majority of residents wanted to plant trees.
A lack of education about trees, protection, diseases was cited.
SET UP A TIMELINE TO ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING:-
ACTION A: SET UP TALKS ABOUT TREE PLANTING, AND WHAT TYPES ARE APPROPRIATE WITHIN THE AONB. (attend SDC’s discussion on this on 12 November)
Invite those who had signed up to work on projects to a meeting:- A list of residents willing to help in various ways- research, plant up, was drawn up from the workshops.
ACTION B: SET UP GROUPS FOR EACH ASPECT.
1)GROUP TO WORK ON FRUIT TREES AND ORCHARDS- RESEARCH OLD ORCHARDS- mapping; walk -about to identify which gardens had fruit trees and their condition.
2)GROUP TO WORK WITH NATIVE TREE REPLACEMENTS.
Identify new locations on council owned land and map. Kick start with planting group or avenues of large trees as a major landmark and which will be eventually providing shade, habitats and add to the landscape character.
A walk-about to see which private gardens and open land had sufficient space to take a tree and follow up with owner.
Draw up a list of trees that would be suitable to replace ash suffering from Ash Die Back.
Source availability from nurseries, sizes and costs.
Source saplings growing in gardens which can be transplanted.
3)GROUP RESPONSIBLE FOR TREE PLANTING. Put a group together to plant up trees and include children join in.
4)GROUP TO WORK WITH THE FARMING COMMUNITY- likely to be the ‘wildlife and corridor’ table but should include copses of large trees for shade in fields.
5)GROUP TO SOURCE GRANT OPPORTUNITIES.
Much of this workshop subject includes planning issues and basic facts about what people value.
Committee members who deal with planning applications to be aware of specific wishes of the parishioners eg in Conservation Area.
Oakridge village:- should this become a Conservation Area?
Should more protection be given to areas between Oakridge Lynch and Far Oakridge from development?/ local nature reserve?
Oakridge- should some buildings be listed which aren’t already?
The table (Please see full comments table under’Documents’) included a colour key showing the following three outcomes:-
- PROTECT:Keep character as it is.
- IDEAS: How to progress- various.
- VALUED:-IMPORTANCE TO RESIDENTS- these covered the distinctive local character:-
Space for community and health
The numbers of residents’ comments under different headings have not been totalled. These comments indicate that this Workshop ( series of three- Eastcombe, Bisley and Oakridge) has generated discussion, and levels of interest and passion to protect our Landscape Character. It also has indicated where there might be opportunities for minor change.
Policies shall be considered that pick up these comments and further consultations, and set in our proposed Neighbourhood Development Plan.
financial incentives and grants are to be followed up.