Report of General Monthly Meeting - March 2019
Campaign for the Protection of Rural England by Charlee Bennett
Charlee Bennett, Chief Executive of the Hampshire Branch of CPRE, gave a stimulating talk on the work of the organization, its aims and achievements.
The aim of CPRE is to protect the countryside and to promote it for all. The organization which is independent of national or local government (and has thus no vested interests) has been in existence for 90 years, and the Hampshire branch for 50 years. It has a broad remit; for example, whereas the Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB are concerned with more specific issues, the CPRE has a more holistic approach to countryside issues and concerns. Its past achievements include establishing and creating the South Downs National Park and it is currently working to gain approval for a new Green Belt in Hampshire.
In addition to this major project, its concerns also include developing landscape policies, and preserving ecosystems and natural assets. It is concerned with assessing future housing need at the local level, and the effective use of brownfield sites to avoid urban sprawl and safeguard the countryside.
Although the Hampshire branch of CPRE has three part-time paid workers, a large number of volunteers make a big contribution in a wide range of areas. Any additional volunteer help is always much appreciated and Hampshire CPRE would love to hear from any U3A members who wish to volunteer or simply show their support for the organization by becoming a member.