Signing up to help protect the unique nature of the area
THIS year is the 50th anniversary of the Colne Valley Park, which is a community interest company (CIC). At the beginning of July, I signed their charter, which they have established to recognise the unique nature of this area and the strength of the community groups which support the park. The charter links the park’s half-century with the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.
The ancient site of Ankerwycke is on the opposite bank of the Thames from Runnymede and the CIC has organised a programme of special guided walks there as part of the commemorations.
The park covers a large geographical area and is an important place for recreation and leisure.
Although 44,000 people live inside the 43 square miles covered by the park, more than three million people live within 10 miles of it.
Sixty-five organisations are now members of the Community Interest Company (CIC).
Buckinghamshire County Council is closely involved with the park, one of a total of five county councils across the park as a whole.
In an area which is so close to London, there are many pressures upon the countryside. The intention is for the use of land within the park to be ‘multi-functional’ – to provide a place for wildlife, recreation and for use by community groups.
The transport network in particular has an impact on the park, whether it is from road, rail or aviation.
I was meeting representatives of the CIC a couple of days after the Airports Commission reported on airport capacity in the UK and where further expansion might take place.
The CIC management have pressed for better mitigation and compensation arrangements, which their spring/summer 2015 newsletter has described as ‘for the benefit of the landscape, wildlife and local people’.
In our immediate locality, I am very pleased that the CIC has been able to sign long leases to manage Caps Wood and Northmoor Hill Wood in Denham. The CIC is already organising days for volunteers to get actively involved in woodland management, so that more visitors will be able to enjoy them.