AONB Gateway project – four new Visitor information boards will be going up at Chew Valley Lake, Cheddar, Burrington Combe and Axbridge. Designs for new village entry signs with the AONB logo on and restoration of cast iron finger posts are being planned. Parishes with an interest in these projects for their villages are asked to contact the AONB Unit. SDF funding is available to assist with the cost of the signs. http://www.mendiphillsaonb.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/MHAONB_Gateways_Briefing_050811.pdf
Mendip Hills AONB Partnership Annual Forum takes place 10th November at Folly Farm – benefits of a well managed landscape. Further details and booking form will be available shortly. Presentations include Coast – One Planet Tourism, Bristol Water and Fernhill Farm. http://www.mendiphillsaonb.org.uk/partnership-committee/
AONB SDF grant awarded to Avon Wildlife Trust a grant of £3550 for a one year project with two classes from Bishop Sutton Primary school and local landowners to explore and understand the landscape and develop a vision for its future. It will result in film and educational resources.
Congratulations to Andy and Jen of Fernhill Farm for winning the Somerset FWAG Otter Trophy 2011 for their sustainable management of the farm. AONB Sustainable Development Fund grants assisted funding of their innovative renewable energy and waste systems. The farm was also the venue for the International Junior Ranger Camp in 2010. http://www.mendiphillsaonb.org.uk/sustainable-development-fund/
A new group of 15 young people from local schools have joined the fourth Mendip Hills AONB Young Ranger Programme. This two-year scheme gives Young Rangers opportunities to gain experience of countryside management and related life skills.
On 15 September the new Young Rangers and their families attended a Welcome Evening and met the AONB staff and volunteers who deliver the programme. The Young Rangers had a game to get to know each other while their families took part in an AONB Challenge Quiz.
The first session on 24 September began with a morning of ice-breaking games and team building challenges. In the afternoon the Young Rangers enjoyed a ramble with a difference around Blackmoor – exploring the site in detail using their senses of sight, smell and touch. http://www.mendiphillsaonb.org.uk/young-rangers/
The large and highly intrusive advertisement sign for a new housing development at Street just beyond Harptree Hill, near West Harptree has been removed.
The landfill site recently approved by B&NES Council at Stowey just outside the AONB is the subject of a potential claim for a Judicial Review against the Council’s decision to grant planning permission.
National Grid is to announce its preferred route for the proposed power line from Hinkley C power station to Seabank near Bristol on Thurs 29th September. http://www.mendiphillsaonb.org.uk/planning/
The Planning Liaison Officer is currently responding to several significant development proposals and policy issues including
• an extension to a caravan site and
• a large solar array near Winscombe
• unauthorised building works at Bleadon Hill golf course
• large scale commercial development just outside the AONB at West Wick, Weston-super-Mare
• Weston Urban Villages Supplementary Planning Document
• Sedgemoor DC’s consultation on its Community Infrastructure Levy document. http://www.mendiphillsaonb.org.uk/planning/
The Prince’s Countryside Fund – notice of forthcoming deadline (Friday 14 October 2011) aims to distribute up to £400,000 in grants of up to £50,000 to UK projects.Applications are invited from projects working towards securing a sustainable future for the British countryside and rural communities see http://princescountrysidefund.org.uk/our-projects/apply-funding