Sarah Nichols has been appointed as the new Chair of the Council of Partners for the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The Council of Partners for the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is pleased to announce that Sarah Nichols has been appointed as Chair of the Council of Partners, the body that leads the conservation and enhancement of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Sarah brings with her a wide breadth of business skills gained during her successful career in the defence and aerospace industry where she worked with the utmost integrity under the Official Secrets Act. Her primary roles were developing business strategy and building relationships with key stakeholders, from local MPs to senior figures in industry and government. She successfully secured many millions of funding over the years, managed press relations and hosted official events welcoming dignitaries from many countries. In 2011 she set up her own Business Consultancy advising local organisations on strategic business development giving her the opportunity to forge relationships with local organisations before retiring in 2017.
In 2016 she was elected as a councillor for Fyfield and West Overton Parish with responsibilities for Lockeridge planning matters and representing her parish on the Avebury World Heritage Site (WHS) Steering Committee. On becoming Chair of the Parish Council, she successfully worked with her fellow councillors in delivering for the community. This included engagement with local MPs, local authority councillors and officers drawing on the skills developed during her career in industry.
Her memberships of the WHS group gave her an insight into the demands of managing such a landscape and heritage as the North Wessex Downs for the communities living and working in the landscape.
Sarah grew up on a farm in the middle of the Dorset AONB and loved the chalkland’s natural beauty with its wildflowers and singing skylarks. Relocating to Marlborough in 1992 she again found herself in familiar chalk landscapes, this time the countryside of the North Wessex Downs AONB.
Sarah says of her new role “I am thrilled to be able to take up the role of Chair helping the North Wessex Downs flourish. The beauty of our landscape has brought a real joy throughout the last, trying year and reinvigorated the nation’s interest in our countryside. Harnessing that interest along with post-Covid and Government initiatives will provide a challenging and exciting few years to chart ahead.”
The AONB Partnership is made up of the nine local authorities which cover the AONB, Natural England and 15 members representing a range of community interests. The North Wessex Downs is the third largest of Britain’s 46 AONBs covering an area of 668 square miles, straddling four counties and 173 parishes.