CPRE: Daft and dangerous

PUBLISHED: 15:32 17 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:18 20 February 2013

CPRE: Daft and dangerous

CPRE: Daft and dangerous

New planning policy will destroy our countryside, says Nicholas Butler of the CPRE.

Ten miles an hour is the prescribed speed limit for the long route from the main road to Compton Scorpion Manor, but the prescription is unnecessary; the unevenness of the track dictates it. Cautiously, slowly, the vehicles felt their way over jagged stones until the car park was achieved and the visitors moved to the great barn where mulled wine, pork and animated conversation awaited them, for the people who come to the annual hog roast and fireworks at Compton Scorpion are mostly well known to each other.

They are also, for the most part, outdoor people and dress the part. Heavy jackets and wellington boots predominate, with not a few cloth caps, even on the heads of youngsters. A few years ago both men and women wore long riding coats, as if they had arrived on horseback. Alas, there were none this year.

The food and fireworks are the annual gift of Andrew Knight, who owns the Compton Scorpion estate, but the money from the sale of tickets goes to three excellent charities. Presently, our host mounted a bale of straw and talked briefly about each.

Shipston Home Nursing, based at Shipston-on-Stour, was founded fifteen years ago. A team of experts look after terminally ill patients in the last three months of their lives, free of charge. So each year this charity must raise the sum of 150,000.

The Jennifer Trust, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, provides support and information to those affected by spinal muscular atrophy, a rare but singularly unpleasant disease. It also provides funds to research the disease and treat it.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England fights, long and hard, to see that the countryside that man has created unwittingly over the centuries and which latter day generations have declared beautiful, will maintain its beauty for the generations yet to come.

The C.P.R.E. is important to everyone in this barn, our host told us. Especially now the Government has brought in this daft piece of legislation.

The National Planning Policy Framework is both daft and dangerous. If the detailed planning guidance on which we have relied for many years is replaced by this loosely worded document with its sundry nods and winks to the developers, then development will be rife, and the countryside we take for granted irreparably spoiled. The Warwickshire Branch of the CPRE is very grateful indeed to Andrew Knight for bracketing us with these two other valuable trusts, and for the money we receive from this event.

And so to the fireworks. Everyone trooped outside and soon a mighty bang announced the start of twenty exhilarating minutes. Technicolour galaxies exploded and departed. Brief and brilliant anemones flung themselves into the sky. Tendrils of white fire crackled off in all directions. We oohed and aahed, and finally applauded the invisible team of experts who set them off.

This event is surely the best, for it must be the most expensive, in the county. Why dont you join us next year?

To contact the Campaign to Protect Rural England, phone 01926 494597 or visit www.cprewarwickshire.org.uk

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