We are delighted to announce, in collaboration with the Whitchurch Conservation Group, that a new sign has been installed to the north of Whitchurch, alerting walkers and drivers that they are now entering an area which is a nationally protected landscape.
Whitchurch is a ‘gateway town’ to the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. But despite it being a protected landscape, it currently faces an unprecedented threat from speculative property developers Genko Ltd, who are proposing to build more than a thousand houses in the AONB and its setting – contrary to national and local policy and guidance.
The new sign is an initiative spearheaded by David Gosling of Whitchurch Conservation Group, a constituted community group i Whitchurch. Established in October 2020, the group now has over 800 Whitchurch resident members and seeks to preserve Whitchurch’s green spaces, enhancing Whitchurch’s status as an economically and socially vibrant town with a strong rural and heritage identity. The sign’s design, production and installation were funded by the North Wessex Downs AONB Partnership.
Whitchurch Conservation Group’s campaign to protect the North Wessex Downs AONB north of Whitchurch has gathered much momentum and the group’s campaign has attracted support from notable celebrities including Bill Bryson, who says “The North Wessex Downs is a rare and lovely landscape, but it is also painfully finite. What a tragedy it would be to lose it.”
Pictured alongside David Gosling are Ann Shepley, Communications Officer for the North Wessex Downs AONB Partnership; Councillor Paul Miller, the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council representative to the Council of Partners (CoP) of the North Wessex Downs AONB, whose aim is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the AONB; Councillor Lucie Follett Maitland, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Councillor for the ward of Whitchurch, Overton and Laverstoke; and Jackie Browne, Vice-Chair of Whitchurch Conservation Group.
David Gosling of Whitchurch Conservation Group says: “Our intention is to lay down a visual marker and remind people that this is a National Protected Landscape”.