Part III. ORGANISATIONS WORKING TO CONSERVE AND ENHANCE THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE STRETTONS
21. Church Stretton Town Council
The Town Council is responsible for looking after various open spaces around the town including Cunnery Road and Greenhills Cemeteries, Rectory Wood and Field, Coppice Leasowes Local Nature Reserve, the park and playing fields.
Rectory Wood & Field and Coppice Leasowes Interest Group – this group of representatives from various local organisations including Shropshire Council and the National Trust advise the Town Council on management of these two sites aiming to ensure the sites are kept safe for visitors, maximise their potential for biodiversity, sympathetically restore elements of the historical landscape and generally encouraging all to help care for these areas.
Whilst the Council is not responsible for planning decisions it comments on all planning applications and relevant consultations to ensure conformity with their own documents. These include: -
The Town Design Statement (TDS) published in 2007 and is a material consideration in planning decisions made by Shropshire Council. It is referenced in section S5 of the current Regulation 18 informal consultation on the Local Plan Review, alongside the AONB Management Plan, the Conservation Area Design guide and the Shop Front Design guide as guidance on how new development can conserve and enhance the distinctive characteristics of the town and its surroundings. The TDS is notable for stressing the importance of conserving the trees in Church Stretton and planting more, partly to replace mature trees which are nearing the end of their natural life, to increase the tree cover in the town and to make a modest contribution to locking in carbon to help offset Climate Change. The Church Stretton Tree Group (see below) was formed following the guides publication.
22. Church Stretton Tree Group
This group was formed following the publication of the Town Design Statement. It campaigns to protect important trees and woodland and to encourage new planting using appropriate species working with the Town Council, landowners and the community. Through its activities it raises the importance of trees and woodland. The web-site of the Tree Group lists native trees that are suitable for this area; they are currently establishing a data-base of trees in the Strettons to form the basis of a tree audit which will point the way to future initiatives to help retain and improve the tree cover. Appendix II is a list of landscaping guidelines and recommendations for tree planting, compiled by the Tree Group from the TDS recommendations.
23. The National Trust
This large national organisation manages sites and buildings for people to enjoy and nature to survive. A team of staff and volunteers look after their properties including Cardingmill Valley and the Long Mynd. Their work includes conservation of the surrounding hills, improving habitats, restoring the heather moorland and maintaining paths.
The Stepping Stones Project
This is a programme of environmental projects within the Shropshire Hills AONB which aims to restore a healthy landscape, rich in plants and wildlife. In practice the objective is to link areas of heathland, flower-rich grasslands and broadleaved woodland by a network of wildlife-rich hedgerows, road verges, hillsides and streamside wetlands. The National Trust is working in partnership with the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Natural England, Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership, National Farmers Union, the Country Landowners Association and Shropshire Wildlife Trust, and has received an award of £165,000 from the People’s Postcode lottery to help fund the work. The Stepping Stones Project Officer ( firstname.lastname@example.org) works with local farmers, community groups and individual volunteers to develop the project.
24. Shropshire Council
Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Amongst its many other responsibilities, the Council has a legal duty along with Telford & Wrekin Council to fulfil the purpose of the AONB. This is achieved through the Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership working with landowners, individuals and key stakeholders (e.g. Church Stretton Town Council, Stretton Civic Society) to prepare and monitor a management plan. The Plan aims to conserve and enhance the landscape through sympathetic management and coordinated action.
25. Shropshire Wildlife Trust (Stretton Branch)
The Trust work with others to care for wildlife sites and campaign for wildlife and the environment. The Branch holds talks on a wide range of wildlife topics and arranges visits and activities.
26. Stretton Climate Care
A community action group seeking to raise public awareness of the Climate Change Crisis and to help people become more energy efficient and reduce their carbon emissions. Appendix 1 contains an extensive list of mitigating actions for individuals and the community.
27. Strettons Area Community Wildlife Group
The aim of this group is to record, monitor and conserve threatened species and habitats in the area. Projects and groups to get involved with include: -
Stretton Wetlands Interest Group – this group works with local landowners with the aim of conserving a wetland area on the edge of the town and provide valuable habitat to enhance biodiversity. A collaborative venture with the Middle Marches Community Land Trust is now being undertaken to raise funds to buy one of the meadows, known as Cudwell Meadow, which straddles the Quinney Brook and lies to the west of Cemetery Road close to Worlds End. (https://middlemarchescommunitylandtrust.org.uk/land/cudwell-meadow/). A boardwalk has been installed and regular monitoring of the site is undertaken. Surveys have identified 140 plant species and 45 species of insects.
Other activities include: -
Long Mynd Red Grouse Project
Wildlife Site Botanical Monitoring
Swifts in the Strettons
Lapwing and Curlew Surveys
28. The Woodland Trust
This charity seeks to secure stronger protection for trees and woodland and reverse the decline in tree planting. The ancient woodlands of Helmeth Wood, Goughs Coppice and Phylla’s Grove on the western slopes of Ragleth Hill are owned by the Trust and contribute to the outstanding landscape of the Shropshire Hills AONB.