I write to wish you all the best for 2022, update you on the charity’s activities and seek your help and involvement on a number of matters in 2022. If you would like to discuss any of the following in person, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Just e-mail me at chair@cprerutland.gov.uk or call 01572 823465 or mobile 07710 328469.

Ron Simpson

Ron Simpson BEM

Chair – CPRE Rutland

Governance Update

The national charity has released the first of a number of expected important governance review documents. After much deliberation, change is proposed in how national office involves county branches in the formulation of national CPRE policy.  The move is intended to strengthen engagement, improve democracy and reduce the number of public policy conflicts between the centre and the independent county branch charities. The overall aim is to be seen to be speaking with ‘one voice’ whenever possible.  Your Trustees will continue to monitor developments. I do not anticipate any particular problems for Rutland.   

Local Progress To Date

 At the December 2021 meeting of the Trustees, the board: –

  • Received a report on CPRE Rutland recent engagement with the national charity since their previous meeting
  • Received Executive Officer updating reports   
  • Previewed the charity’s new website at www.cprerutland.uk   
  • Officially launched the 2021 Christmas Quiz online – (There are still a few days left to download it from our new website and submit an entry)
  • Approved the charity’s first ever set of financial regulations together with new volunteer/public safeguarding and equality policies
  • Approved new volunteer role descriptions for Trustees and a Vice Chair so they could be advertised online both locally and nationally
  • Acknowledged the remarkable period of service and retirement of Trustee John Williams and approved the appointment of new Trustees Barbara Keene and Annabelle Meek. A further Trustee has been nominated for approval at the next board meeting in March.  
  • Considered the progress made to date with the Rutland Conversation and the first steps made by RCC toward a new Rutland Local Plan. A formal ‘conversation’ response was submitted to the county council. More of this later.   
  • Noted that RCC had not yet undertaken any initiative to strengthen the leadership of the planning function but has now constituted a new Local Plan political leadership group which, very unusually, will be chaired by an officer, the Chief Executive.      

The March meeting of Trustees will turn the board’s focus onto a future work programme for CPRE Rutland. This should be a hybrid of local support for national projects accompanied by our own research and activity programme addressing local priorities. Your views on what those local priorities should be would be welcomed.   

Projects and News

National Council of Voluntary Organisations – I am pleased to advise that national office have arranged NCVO membership for all local CPREs at no cost to county branches. Membership will last for 5 years. There are many benefits to NCVO membership and CPRE Rutland will take advantage of this valuable offer. The branch will benefit from access to tools, resources and discount on training courses benefitting our governance, volunteer management, funding and legal compliance with charity law.

Star Count – This year’s national CPRE Star Count will be taking place between Saturday 26 February and Sunday 6 March.  We will be asking supporters to count the number of stars they can see in the Orion constellation. Keep an eye out for further updates when national colleagues will be sharing more information and an assets pack to help you make the most of Star Count. CPRE hugely values county branch involvement in this major undertaking. Can you help this year? Please let us know.  

Pictures of the Rutland Countryside – Work on further developing our new website continues and we hope to create a photographic gallery of Rutland villages, market towns and the surrounding countryside. Many already exist in the public domain but often have copyright restrictions. Do you have a favourite Rutland photo or two you would be happy to have us publish? Please send them to chair@cprerutland.uk    

Engagement with Young People – I am pleased to advise that I have been appointed to serve on the governing body of Uppingham Community College from 2022. This should provide the opportunity to make a start on engaging with more young people on the issues important to CPRE Rutland. I look forward to other opportunities to engage with our younger residents elsewhere in the county. Let me know if you spot an opportunity.

Rutland Conversation – The CPRE Rutland Board, guided by its Executive, will need to determine the best way forward in 2022 in our ongoing engagement with the county council. A key decision for the Executive will be whether the charity proceeds with its original intention of producing its own document as a follow up to its collaboration with the Rutland Conversation. While the dialogue with RCC is going well, it appears that a specific ‘action plan’ with smart targets specifically geared to the protection and promotion of the countryside in Rutland might well be a positive contribution to the debate. Members’ thoughts are welcomed.  

Mallard Pass Solar Farm – A significant amount of time was spent just before Christmas working with the Mallard Pass Solar Farm Action Group. I have met with impacted parish and county councillors to explore resident concerns who appear pleased that CPRE Rutland shares their anxiety about the enormous scale of this project. I note that Alicia Kearns MP is against the project going ahead in its present form. I have also devoted one of my Rutland Times columns to the issue. To learn more about the very well organised project campaign and hear CPRE Rutland views watch the recent East Midlands Television News items on the Mallard Pass Solar Farm at:- https://twitter.com/tonyroe/status/1471867299703533581?s=21 Expect to hear much more about the campaign in the coming months!

Planning Applications – The Branch continues to monitor speculative development of all forms around the County and will respond to the planning authority on behalf of members and residents where appropriate. 

Health and Wellbeing Hospital Debate – following a CPRE Rutland written question on public transport plans put to the October meeting of the Rutland Health and Wellbeing Board, a private meeting with the Board Chair and Portfolio Holder was offered to discuss the charity’s ideas for transport provision. As the then Chair has now resigned from the role, we await the offer of a new appointment with his replacement.   

Coming Soon

2.2.2022 – Publication and National Launch of the CPRE Locally Valued Green Space Research – CPRE Rutland will be in attendance.

Member News The charity would be pleased to hear of CPRE member engagement with countryside matters generally. Please feel free to forward your thoughts at any time.