Cllr. Nancy Warne on the landscape chapter of the Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Neighbourhood Development Plan.
HOW LUCKY we are to be surrounded by so much beautiful countryside! Whether we enjoy watching the birds and butterflies in our gardens, walking the dog along one of our many footpaths or growing our own food on an allotment, getting out and about to appreciate the natural world is good for our well-being and our mental health. This was especially noticeable during the coronavirus lockdown earlier this year, when access to a garden and open green space become even more important.
During consultation workshops, residents told us how much they valued the open green spaces in the parish, the beauty of the historic Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) landscape, and the variety of the wildlife and their habitats: meadows, trees, hedges, streams and ponds.
The distinctive “green feel” to our parish is something we want to protect, for the benefit of people and nature.
Building future resilience to climate change by protecting and making the most of our natural resources is essential to guard against flooding and maintain good quality air, water and soil. Ensuring that new developments make a positive contribution to the ecological networks and biodiversity of the parish is vital.
To prevent further fragmentation of wildlife habitats, and to increase the amount and range of species, policies will ask developers to demonstrate a net gain for nature. We want to protect special places for nature conservation, as well as ensuring plenty of access to green spaces for all.
Any new public realm spaces can be enhanced for wildlife through careful planting and sensitive management, building on the work of Cranbrook in Bloom and the parish council. Many farmers and gardeners are already reaping the benefits of planting with nature in mind.
Paying particular attention to the design details in new developments can allow wildlife to flourish: for example, through the introduction of bird and bat boxes, and permeable fences to allow hedgehogs, foxes and badgers to pass through. Including trees, native hedging, wildflower meadows and ponds in new developments will also provide essential sources of food and shelter.
What do you Think? Have Your Say!
Consultation on the neighbourhood development plan runs from mid-October for eight weeks.
All your comments will be taken into account and will help to inform the final version. Your voice matters and can make a difference!
• View and respond at www.cranbrookandsissinghurstndp.co.uk
• Email at email@example.com
• Or see hard copies and leave your comments at the Parish Office, The Old Fire Station, Stone Street, Cranbrook TN17 3HF.