Green blueprint for new valley park is agreed

Whimple north

Clyst Valley Regional Park plans have been agreed - Credit: EDDC

A 25-year masterplan that will help the future delivery of a new regional valley park that will cover land ‘half the size of Exeter’ and guide planning decisions within its boundary has been agreed.
The Clyst Valley Regional Park is set to consist of a number of greenspaces linked by greenways and will extend from Clyst St George to the south to Killerton House to the north, and to the Cranbrook Country Park to the east.
A masterplan, which was consulted on in 2020, has been produced to set out a long-term, broad guide to how the Regional Park could develop and to set out the big picture and the general direction of travel and opportunity.
It articulates the potential benefits of delivering projects and in so doing, it will be used to support funding bids, attract investors, and to pull in partners and resources to work up and deliver projects.
East Devon District Council’s strategic planning committee, when they met on Tuesday, unanimously agreed to approve the Clyst Valley Regional Park Masterplan as a guidance document to inform the future delivery of the Regional Park and to support decision making on planning applications within the policy boundary of the Regional Park.
Simon Bates, green infrastructure project manager, in his report to the meeting, said: “The masterplan is the first attempt to achieve a shared vision, objectives, and values, and agree on the priorities for the next five years,” and said that a further report around delivery of some of the aims would be brought forward later this year.
Cllr Geoff Jung, East Devon District Council portfolio holder for coast, country & environment, added: “We need to protect and enhance the countryside and this is one of the main drivers for the regional park. We must not destroy the very reason we love this beautiful place.
“I’m delighted that this exciting plan has gone through a full public consultation. The Coronavirus pandemic has been a stark reminder of the importance of spending time outdoors to our health and wellbeing.
“We received more than 240 representations from people and organisations, with much support for the Regional Park and we have carefully considered each one. Devon is well-known for its countryside with national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty, estuaries and beautiful coastline. But there is greater pressure than ever on these stunning locations.
“With a growing population, it is necessary to provide much-needed homes, jobs and infrastructure. As more people explore the countryside, it is imperative that we protect and enhance our green spaces because getting active outdoors keeps us healthy and happy, plus the countryside can help us address climate change by storing carbon and water, as we work towards becoming carbon neutral by 2040. The Clyst Valley Regional Park will play a valuable role in providing new open spaces near major growth areas.
“It will ensure that the new town of Cranbrook and developments close to Exeter are provided with large scale, high quality greenspace. The Clyst Valley Regional Park will enhance the land surrounding the River Clyst and its tributaries, with linked green corridors enabling people to visit the outdoors via cycleways and footpaths.
“The Park will improve biodiversity, for example through natural woodland regeneration, urban tree planting, creating nature reserves, and helping to reduce flooding by careful natural water flow management.
“The creation of the Regional Park will help reduce the pressure on more environmentally sensitive locations and help to conserve heritage assets, protecting our cultural identity. It will be managed to the highest standards.
“The Clyst Valley Regional Park is becoming a reality and pieces of this jigsaw are coming together. There are Country Park’s at Cranbrook and at Pin Brook, the first sections of the Clyst Valley Trail are being built and 3,500 broadleaved trees and shrubs have been planted through the ‘Great trees in the Clyst Valley’ initiative.”
The masterplan adds: “The Clyst Valley Regional Park is crucial for the health and wellbeing of a growing population, and to restore the natural capital on which we all depend. The purpose of this masterplan is to define a shared vision, objectives, and values as a platform for partnership in developing the Regional Park.
“The unique social, environmental and economic context are identified, as are the policies, strategies and targets of organisations that could be delivered in the Regional Park.
“The masterplan will be a material consideration in assessing planning applications within the Clyst Valley Regional Park policy boundary. It should be used by land owners, developers and their agents as additional guidance on how, and where, green infrastructure can be delivered.”

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