Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Management Plan 2011 - 2016
By Peter Mansfield
Chair, Cornwall AONB Partnership
The Cornwall AONB landscape comprises over 25% of Cornwall – its finest landscapes, first designated as of national importance in 1959. Yet it was only in 2002 that the Cornwall AONB Partnership first came together, triggered by 75% funding made available from Central Government to provide resources to begin to close the gap between the standards of care
for the equally important National Park and AONB landscapes of Britain.
The Partnership’s first task was to produce a single Management Plan for the AONB landscape to fulfill the seven local authorities’ legal obligation to do so. The plan was approved in 2004 with the key theme that: “This distinctive Cornish landscape faces many
challenges which need to be met in ways which future generations will judge to have been far-sighted and unselfish of our generation… in other words promoting only genuinely sustainable development.”
That underlying theme carries through to this second plan as does the key challenge to provide more detailed focus on the 12 distinctive coastal and moorland areas: “Effective involvement of local communities in the shaping of their local landscapes is crucial.”
That ambition is addressed in this new plan by individual chapters for each of the 12 areas, founded on extensive community consultations prior to writing the Plan and widespread public consultation on the draft.
How the land use planning system in Cornwall values our finest landscapes in practice is the key to whether this greatest of assets keeps its quality in the long term. Supporting the effective working of the planning system is the Partnership’s greatest single priority, our best value contribution, given how thinly stretched we are by the size of this designated area
compared with more compact AONB landscapes.
This second Management Plan has been created in a much changed – and still rapidly changing – world. Locally, we now have a single authority, Cornwall Council; it is significant that this Plan has an endorsing Foreword by Cabinet Member Julian German CC who lives within the AONB and understands the challenges very well; he sits on the Partnership with three colleagues from across Cornwall – all of whom who are involved with the planning process.
Cornwall is universally regarded as a world class visitor destination offering a beguiling combination of distinctive experiences, largely founded on the AONB landscape but benefiting the whole community, not least in the provision of 40,000 jobs – 25% of Cornwall’s total.
Times of financial austerity can sometimes encourage short term expediency in pursuit of instant results; rarely do these prove sustainable in any sense and generally they come to be regretted....The challenge is surely for those who most determine what happens to the face of Cornwall – politicians, policy makers and resource owners – to keep a clear understanding of what makes Cornwall special, and a vision for long term prosperity built on this, resisting the inevitable ‘anywhere’ quick fix offers and only playing to Cornwall’s timeless strengths and opportunities.
For the Partnership, reduced resources underlines the crucial importance of full blooded partnership working – surely in tune with the ‘Big Society’ concept now seen as the way forward for managing in these harder times.
I strongly believe this Plan provides a robust and well thought-out route map to achieve the Plan’s 20 year Vision, navigating the challenges and opportunities of the next 5 years for this inspiring landscape which mean so much to all who live here – and to our millions of enthusiastic visitors.