COTSWOLDS VILLAGES AND TOWNS ENCOURAGED TO ACCESS GRANTS SCHEME THAT CONSERVES LOCAL FEATURES

A grants scheme designed to help Cotswold villages and towns conserve locally distinctive features such as wells, village pumps and war memorials has been extended to cover the whole of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, (AONB).

The local distinctiveness scheme which is delivered by the Cotswolds Conservation Board had initially focused on a small part of West Oxfordshire in the Evenlode Valley and the area around Tetbury but it is now available throughout the whole of the AONB.

The Cotswolds AONB is the largest of 40 in England and Wales and covers an area of 790 sq miles (2,038 sq kms). It takes in parts of south Warwickshire, south Worcestershire, West Oxfordshire, the whole of Gloucestershire, parts of west Wiltshire and stretches down to the area around Bath and north east Somerset.

The grant which covers up to 50% of the costs of a project offers villagers and townspeople the opportunity to apply for funding of up to £10,000. Eligible projects must conserve and enhance local heritage or focus on installing new features which reflect local distinctiveness. These include; milestones, signs, gate posts, memorials, seats, railings, pumps and wells, in fact anything that helps to make a local area special.

Project manager for Caring for the Cotswolds John Tabor said;

"The Cotswolds Conservation Board works to help communities conserve and enhance the Cotswolds AONB and this is a great opportunity for people to identify features in their village or town that could benefit from a grant and apply. Applications for new features which reflect the character of the area are also very welcome."

The local distinctiveness scheme is part of a larger £2.5m project delivered by the Cotswolds Conservation Board called, 'Caring for the Cotswolds'. Supported by a £1.4m lottery grant, the five year project focuses on four interrelated areas all designed to practically conserve the Cotswolds. These are Local distinctiveness, Drystone walls, Unimproved grassland and Interpretation.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is cared for by the Cotswolds Conservation Board - an independent organisation with 40 members, 17 nominated by local authorities, eight by parish councils and 15 appointed by Government.

The Government has designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks as our finest countryside and they are recognised as being of national importance.

This year the Cotswolds Conservation Board is celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the AONB, which became a protected landscape back in 1966.

Contact: Claire Cunningham. Tel: 01451 862003

Cotswolds Conservation Board The Old Police Station Cotswold Heritage Centre Northleach Gloucestershire GL54 3JH

Tel: 01451 862000 Website: www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk