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10,000 Trees not 10,000 houses

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A vision for a new Country Park in Uttlesford

Following the announcement on 8 May 2020 of our strategy for the restoration of Easton Park, SEP has today issued a document that sets out the rationale for this proposal and how it might be achieved.

The proposal is based on the three core and interrelated arguments of health, climate change and heritage. Health and climate change are of course of prime importance in the present environment. Heritage is also fundamental both because of (i) the importance of protecting our heritage; and (ii) the 700 year history of Easton Park and its designation as a Nature Reserve in 1937 which underpin the legitimacy of this restoration proposal.

The document contends that a partial restoration could be achieved at modest cost, most of which could be recouped by grants, and without impacting on the financial viability of Easton Park as a going concern. The document also highlights the key importance of the Agreement signed in 1939 following the designation of Easton Park as a Nature Reserve which limits development in the historic park to ten dwellings. This Agreement remains extant and so gives UDC both the authority to stop development in Easton Park and the responsibility for its preservation.

Following the issue of this document, SEP will be encouraging UDC to set up a working group to consider how best a restoration might be achieved. It will also be seeking support from the many organisations involved in the protection of our environment. In this regard, we are happy to announce that the proposal has already achieved the support of the CPRE.

The proposal involves the restoration for walking of the four avenues of trees that were the key feature of the park from the turn of the 17th/18th centuries until WWII and the building of tracks around the perimeter for running, cycling and horse riding. The proposal also suggests wildlife reserves and woodland planting whilst retaining most of the agricultural land – see over.

The restoration of Easton Park would provide much needed facilities, resolve the shortage of open space currently faced by Uttlesford District and provide the necessary relief to Hatfield Forest which has been suffering from excess use. It would also give UDC the opportunity to greatly increase tree planting within the district in line with their Residents’ Charter.

The withdrawal of the draft Local Plan provides the opportunity to reconsider the requirements of the Uttlesford District. SEP recognises the need for housing but the more housing, the greater the importance of providing suitable open space for the physical and mental wellbeing of current and future generations.

On Friday 26 June, the Prince of Wales said:-

“As we rethink our world in the wake of the pandemic, it is increasingly clear that the health and wellbeing of people and planet are inextricably linked”.

With the Prince of Wales statement in mind Vincent Thompson, founder of SEP, commented...

“Now is the time to address the damage inflicted on Easton Park by WWII and restore the Nature Reserve that was declared by the Countess of Warwick in 1937.”

Contacts: Vincent Thompson – 01371 872246 or Peter Bright – 01371 852280

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