LITTLE MARLOW LAKES COUNTRY PARK COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP
Following an extensive local public consultation jointly led by Wycombe District Council and Buckinghamshire County Council between 2000 and 2002, the two Councils published a comprehensive planning guidance document setting out 'A vision for Little Marlow Lakes Country Park'. The guidance document expressed the Councils' keenness to work with interest groups to secure support and assistance in establishing recreation and leisure facilities to achieve the Country Park vision.
This led to a joint approach by the Bucks Bird Club, the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) and the Chiltern Society to Wycombe District Council proposing the formation of a group of local stakeholders that had a common interest in helping to progress the Councils’ proposals, with a particular emphasis on conserving and enhancing the countryside nature and biodiversity of the proposed Country Park area. The District Council supported the concept and assigned a council officer to liaise with the emerging group.
The Community Partnership was formed in 2003 (initially as the Little Marlow Gravel Pits Community Partnership). Membership of the partnership was opened to local resident groups and conservation bodies that shared the broad aim:
To support initiatives that help to ensure a sustainable countryside environment for the Little Marlow Lakes Country Park area, for the benefit of the current and future local communities.
Members support the development of a Country Park in the Little Marlow Gravel Pits area but share the view that they do not wish to see any part of the Country Park area over-developed to the detriment of the local environment, the character of the local settlements and the area’s relative tranquillity. In particular, members would not wish to see any significant built development in areas of the proposed Country Park that the planning guidance indicates should be restored and enhanced to reflect the area’s traditional landscape and historic features.
Since publication of the 2002 Planning Guidance, the Community Partnership and other supporting stakeholders have sought, successfully through the planning system, to protect the basic zonal structure and key principles that underpin the country park vision as set out in the SPG. All major planning proposals since 2002 that would critically undermine that structure and key principles have been rejected both by the Local Planning Authority and by planning inspectors on appeal. The Partnership has maintained an on-going dialogue with the local planning authorities and other stakeholders throughout this period and contributed to the development and strengthening of the planning policies applying to the Country Park.
Organisations represented on the Community Partnership engage with local communities in a variety of ways, for example:
- Wildlife walks (e.g. birds, flora, bats)
- Local history walks
- Talks to local groups
- Educational visits (e.g. bird watching events for local groups)
- Attending local events (e.g. Little Marlow Fete)
The Partnership operates on a wholly voluntary basis and does not receive any regular core funding. A small Steering Group guides, initiates and reviews the partnership’s activities. Specific projects have been funded by donations, grants from other bodies or by developer contributions.