Cabinet asked to approve Council’s key role within Stour Valley Park Partnership

The official inclusion of BCP Council into an extensive partnership that has developed the concept of an exciting new regional park will be discussed at Cabinet in April.

The Stour Valley Park is a visionary concept that spans 25km of the lower River Stour from Hengistbury Head by the coast to the Kingston Lacy estate near Wimborne. It is made up of a group of organisations, all with an interest in the natural environment. BCP Council is one of the leading organisations contributing towards the Stour Valley Park Partnership and a significant landowner within the landscape.

Bournemouth and Poole signed up to the partnership prior to BCP Council’s inception on 1 April 2019, but Christchurch was unable to sign up before the Local Government Reorganisation.

If agreed at cabinet, the council will officially become a partner reaffirming its commitment to the creation of this regional park alongside a number of other partners including the National Trust, RSPB, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Dorset Local Nature Partnership, Natural England, The Parks Foundation, Dorset Council, Environment Agency, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth Water, Stour Catchment Initiative and Wessex Water.

Councillor Mark Anderson, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Cleansing and Waste commented:

“As one of the original committee members who endorsed and signed up Bournemouth to the idea of a Stour Valley Park back in 2017, I’m glad to once again be involved in this project. BCP Council is one of the leading organisations helping to drive this partnership and strategy forward, and it is important that we are officially recognised as a partner.

“We are committed to protecting and enhancing our outstanding natural environment and the Stour Valley Park strategy that we’re developing feeds into a number of our key priorities, including our Fulfilled Lives objective to help people lead active, healthy and independent lives. Last year more than ever, people needed access to our parks and open spaces to help with their health and wellbeing, so this proposed regional park is an exciting concept that will provide increased benefits to both residents and visitors.”

The Partnership is developing the Stour Valley Landscape Strategy that will inform the emerging BCP Council Green Infrastructure Strategy and Local Plan. It will create opportunities to enhance access to green space, mitigate climate change, increase biodiversity, develop active travel networks, benefit health and wellbeing and enhance the areas tourism offer. The Strategy is going to cabinet later in the year with a more detailed masterplan being developed in 2022.

For more information on the Stour Valley Park, please visit https://www.stourvalleypark.uk/