Clyst Valley Park masterplan up for national award

Plans to turn Clyst Valley Regional Park into a wildlife haven, have been nominated for a national accolade.

Adam Manning www.midweekherald.co.uk 

East Devon District Council (EDDC) is thrilled to announce the park’s 25-year masterplan has been shortlisted in finals for the ‘Excellence in Plan Making’, as part of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards 2022.

The award recognises the value of plan making coupled to community engagement. EDDC has carried out extensive community work through two £200,000 lottery projects – ‘Great trees in the Clyst Valley’ and ‘Routes for Roots’. One of successes of the latter has been the weekly wellbeing walks that EDDC has led to help reduce isolation and improve mental and physical health for 40 adults.

The plan has been hailed for the focus it has given to making the park more sustainable and promote wellbeing, for example, by working towards 30 per cent tree cover in the Clyst Valley by 2050.

As part of this EDDC has worked with 250 school children and adults from the Broadclyst and Cranbrook area to plant trees and shrubs to suck up carbon, including planting Britain’s rarest tree – the Black Poplar.

The park is also UK’s newest regional park – prompting interest from the National Trust and Bromsgrove District Council who want to learn from EDDC and see if they can create their own regional park. The creation of 10 regional parks in the urban fringe was one of the recommendations EDDC made to the trust’s national report about ‘future parks’. The parks would generate £600million per year in health benefits, contribute to eight per cent of the national tree planting target, and provide £2 of health and amenity benefits for every £1 invested over 30 years.

Councillor Geoff Jung, EDDC’s portfolio holder for coast, country, and environment, said: “I am really delighted for the team at EDDC that their hard work and dedication has been recognised for the Clyst Valley Regional Park masterplan being selected to be shortlisted for the final. It well deserved.

“A Nature Recovery Network forms part of the masterplan and ambitious targets have been set for nature, people, and climate. Our ‘Clyst Canopy’ project for many more trees, of the right type, in the right place dovetails into our ambitious targets for our East Devon’s climate change initiatives with an ambitious target of 30 per cent for the Clyst Valley from just 12 per cent “It is vital that this council at the same time as providing plans to provide to build 948 dwellings a year within the district, which is required by central Government it’s also imperative to improve, enhance, and protect our landscape and increase the biodiversity throughout the area.”

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