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Finance Officer Vacancy

We are looking to appoint an experienced Finance Officer to work closely with our new Chief Executive as the organisation enters an exciting new phase.

Is this you?

The Cotswolds Conservation Board’s new Finance Officer will be a qualified accountant with a minimum of three years’ experience in financial management, accounting and budget preparation. Knowledge of public sector accounting practices would be an advantage but not essential.

Ideally, you will be the kind of person that is always keen to drive improvements – introducing smarter and better ways of doing things. We are an organisation that strives for continuous improvement in everything we do.

Alongside the Chief Executive, you will lead on business planning – helping to identify opportunities for sustainable development whilst ensuring the organisation is aware of, and managing, potential risks to its future growth.

And we’re all doing this to ensure that the well-loved landscape of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty continues to be enhanced and enjoyed by everyone.

Salary £35,658-£38,907 pro-rata
Hours 22.5 hours per week (working pattern to suit candidate)
Location Northleach, Gloucestershire

For an informal discussion please contact Andy Parsons, Chief Executive, on 01451 862000.

For a job description and details on how to apply visit www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk/jobs or contact Della Morris on 01451 862000.

Closing date:              Monday 10 February 2020, 12pm.

Interview dates:         Week commencing 17 February 2020.


FarmED is open for business!

Side view of FarmED

 

FarmED is the new centre for farming and food education based at Honeydale Farm in the Cotswolds. At the heart of the farm’s 107 acres will be three impressive eco-buildings. One provides space for conferences, lectures, workshops and special events. This building has been supported by the Cotswolds LEADER Programme and is now open. Building two will be a farm to fork kitchen and food education space, and a regenerative business incubator (planned for June 2020). Farming operations will utilise building three from spring 2020.

FarmED’s mission is to accelerate the transition towards regenerative farming and sustainable food systems by providing space and opportunity for inspirational education, innovative research, practitioner-led knowledge exchange events, and personal development. The space can be hired for a meetings, conferences, workshops or special events, and you can visit for a farm walk and talk, or join the FarmED Programme: Regenerative Agriculture and Sustainable Food (being developed for launch in summer 2020). More info at https://www.farm-ed.co.uk/ 


Andy Parsons takes up Chief Executive role

 

Andy Parsons takes up the role of Chief Executive at the Cotswolds Conservation Board this month.

Andy has an interesting background in both business and charity – he comes to the Board from his role as Chief Executive at the South West Lakes Trust, where he had been since 2015. Before that, he was at Severn Trent Water. His previous non-executive roles include Chairman at Visit Exmoor, Vice-Chairman at Cornwall Sports Partnership and Management Board member of the Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group. He has also been a Secretary of State appointed member of the Cotswolds Conservation Board since August 2018.

Andy says, “For the last 12 years of my career, I’ve been working to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from health-giving experiences in the great outdoors. I moved to the Cotswolds in 2012 with my family and, since then, I have grown to treasure the special and unique qualities that this area has to offer – from its fascinating built heritage, to its unspoilt open countryside and woodlands. This is a very exciting time to be joining the Cotswolds Conservation Board, with the publication of the Glover Landscapes Review in September and the positive changes proposed to ensure all our national landscapes are fit for the future. The proposal that the Cotswolds should be considered as a candidate for National Park status is particularly exciting, and I hope to help the Board rise to the opportunities and challenges it faces in the years ahead.”

Elizabeth Eyre, Cotswolds Conservation Board Chairman, said, “We’re delighted to welcome Andy to the Cotswolds Conservation Board, and we’re looking forward to supporting him and the team to realise our ambitious plans for the AONB. We are already confident he will make a big difference to our future plans.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape. www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk
  • The Cotswolds AONB is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation established in 2004 which has 37 members – 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
  • The Cotswolds is the third largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
  • The land management position statements are for use by local authorities, government agencies, land agents, advisers, land managers, farmers and the public. They, along with the planning and transport position statements are available on the Cotswolds Conservation Board’s website.
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along with National Parks, are considered to be the most special landscapes in the country and belong to an international family of protected areas.  There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland.  For further details, visit: www.landscapesforlife.org.uk. For details of the 15 National Parks in England and Wales visit: www.nationalparks.gov.uk

CCB urges Highways England to improve plans for A417 Missing Link

Following Highways England’s six week public consultation period which closed on 8th November, the Cotswolds Conservation Board has submitted a detailed response which actively supports the need for improvements to this busy and problematic stretch of road; but which also urges Highways England to continue to work with the Board on its recommendations, which could further improve the proposed works – so that any new route would be as originally conceived: a truly ‘landscape-led’ design which would benefit road users and further reduce the adverse effects – and increase the beneficial effects – on wildlife and the local landscape.

As the entire stretch of proposed new route lies within the boundaries of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Conservation Board is working with Highways England and other conservation bodies to ensure that proposed improvements to the A417 Missing Link are genuinely ‘landscape-led’.

In its consultation response, the Board has worked to identify and highlight priority recommendations for Highways England as follows:

  1. That Highways England should conduct a comprehensive and quantitative assessment of the overall balance of adverse and beneficial effects for the Cotswolds AONB.
  2. That it should give further consideration to the potential benefits and viability of a ‘cut-and-cover’ ‘tunnel’ option, instead of the 25 metre deep and 1 kilometre long open cutting with a green bridge which is currently proposed.Calculations made by the Board show the cut-and-cover option would be overall at a comparative cost of the current proposal, but with the addition of many more benefits for the environment – including creating a greater habitat area for wildlife; reduced noise, air, and light pollution; retained woodland; a reduction in the area of land affected by a new scheme; increased tranquillity; an enhanced experience of walking the Cotswold Way National Trail; and a significant reduction in excavated and relocated material.
  3. Give further consideration to alternatives to relocating excavated material from the proposed new route to the head of the Upper Churn Valley at Shab Hill Junction, and to the adverse effects of excavating and disposing of large volumes of excavated materials on site.Current proposals could potentially involve a quantity of excavated material the equivalent of 10 times the volume of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Current plans include relocating a proportion of this to the proposed Shab Hill junction – which is currently an area of precious calcareous grassland – an important priority habitat for a number of plant and wildlife species. The Board’s alternative suggestions would significantly reduce the volume of excavated material and the volume of material that needs to be disposed of elsewhere, therefore lessening the impact on the surrounding landscape.

The Board fully appreciates the restrictions placed on Highways England in relation to the scheme’s budget. Its suggested recommendations have been made with the aim of them being implemented at overall comparative costs. The Board remains committed to continuing to work closely and constructively with Highways England to achieve the jointly agreed landscape-led vision, design principles, and objectives for any solution – which were agreed with Highways England in 2017.

The recent issues Landscapes Review of National Parks and AONBs, which was commissioned by government, and its recognition of the Cotswolds as a potential National Park reinforces the need for a highly sensitive and genuine landscape-led solution for the A417.

Liz Eyre, Chairman of the Cotswolds Conservation Board, said, “We’re pleased to be working with Highways England. The need for this stretch of road to be improved is undeniable.  Addressing the safety of the road, along with delays, traffic flow, and congestion is important for our region. As an organisation whose statutory duty is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the Cotswolds, we have responded to the proposed A417 Missing Link plans responsibly making a number of costed and considered recommendations which could deliver a number of significant further improvements, ensuring even more that the scheme is truly as far as possible landscape-led.

These improvements would limit the adverse effect on our beautiful and internationally-recognised landscape, at the same time as offering genuine benefits for all those affected by the proposed new route. We hope that Highways England will give full consideration to these recommendations, and continue an open dialogue with us and other local conservation organisations in order to deliver a solution that works well for everyone, and for decades to come.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape. www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk
  • The Cotswolds AONB is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation established in 2004 which has 37 members – 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
  • The Cotswolds is the third largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
  • The land management position statements are for use by local authorities, government agencies, land agents, advisers, land managers, farmers and the public. They, along with the planning and transport position statements are available on the Cotswolds Conservation Board’s website.
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along with National Parks, are considered to be the most special landscapes in the country and belong to an international family of protected areas.  There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland.  For further details, visit: www.landscapesforlife.org.uk. For details of the 15 National Parks in England and Wales visit: www.nationalparks.gov.uk

Never mind the billhooks!

2019 Cotswolds Hedgelaying Championship – Saturday 8th November 

Professional and amateur hedgelayers from across the country will battle it out against each other in the new look Cotswolds Hedgelaying Championship on Saturday 9 November. Organised by the Cotswolds Conservation Board, and hosted at Whichford Hill Farm near Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, the championship encourages young and veteran hedgelayers to compete independently or in pairs to lay up to ten yards of hedge.

This annual event is an opportunity to watch this traditional countryside craft at its very best. Witness the skills and craftmanship of competitors as they tame wild hedges into fantastic examples of perfect hedgerow. Hedgerows are a defining characteristic of a rural landscape – as well as creating boundaries between areas of land, they are also ideal habitat for a huge range of wildlife.

Entry is to the event as a spectator is free. The hedgelaying starts at 9:30am and finishes at 2pm. Winners will be announced later in the afternoon with winners announced at around 4pm at the Norman Knight Pub in Whichford.

–Ends–

Notes to editors:

  • The event is open to press and photographers.
  • Nearest postcodes for the field where the competition is taking place and the Norman Knight Pub hosting the prize giving are as follows:
  • Post-code in closest proximity to competition field: OX15 5BX
  • Norman Knight Pub, Whichford: CV36 5PE
  • The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape. www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk
  • The Cotswolds AONB is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation established in 2004 which has 37 members – 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
  • The Cotswolds is the third largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
  • The land management position statements are for use by local authorities, government agencies, land agents, advisers, land managers, farmers and the public. They, along with the planning and transport position statements are available on the Cotswolds Conservation Board’s website.
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along with National Parks, are considered to be the most special landscapes in the country and belong to an international family of protected areas.  There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland.  For further details, visit: www.landscapesforlife.org.uk. For details of the 15 National Parks in England and Wales visit: www.nationalparks.gov.uk

Press release: Board concerned over plans for A417 Missing Link

This month, Highways England has launched a new six week consultation to invite feedback on the latest proposals for the A417 Missing Link improvements. On 14 March 2019, they announced Option 30 as their preferred route for the A417 Missing Link. Responses to the consultation are invited by 8th November.

Since 2014, the Cotswolds Conservation Board has been involved in discussions with Highways England and partner organisations about the proposals for a solution to this problematic section of road in Gloucestershire. The Board fully supports the ambition to make improvements and address the safety and environmental problems presented by the current road layout. Throughout the process though, the Board has pushed for this solution to be landscape-led; as reflected in the jointly agreed vision, design principles, and objectives for any solution – which were agreed with Highways England in 2017.

The recently issued Landscapes Review, commissioned by government and reviewing all the AONBs and National Parks in England and produced by Julian Glover and his advisory panel, recognises the national importance of the Cotswolds landscape. Their recommendations advance the Cotswolds as a candidate National Park and describe the Cotswolds as world famous for its natural beauty, huge popularity with visitors from around the world, and acknowledge that its landscape and villages are one of the emblems of England. They also identify the Cotswolds as a big contributor to the national economy.

This report and its recognition of the Cotswolds as a potential National Park reinforces the need for a highly sensitive and genuine landscape-led solution for the A417.

Whilst the Board is pleased that some of its suggestions for proposed improvements to the preferred route were shown to be better for both the economy and the environment – and have been reflected in the released plans – it is not yet satisfied that Option 30 sufficiently meets the landscape and environmental requirements.

The A417 Missing Link runs through Crickley Hill, in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding National Beauty and, together with Barrow Wake, is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. An Iron-Age hill fort (a Scheduled Ancient Monument), archaeology, limestone grassland, ancient woodland, Cotswold Way National Trail, and diverse wildlife all make this a nationally and internationally important landscape. It’s for these reasons that the Conservation Board has been working with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and the National Trust (who own and manage Crickley Hill and Barrow Wake) to ensure that the proposed road scheme genuinely achieves the agreed landscape-led vision, design principles, and objectives.

The Board is encouraging everyone to consider Route 30 and its potential impact, and to have their say during the consultation period.

Martin Lane, Director of the Cotswolds Conservation Board, said, “We’re keen to continue the dialogue with Highways England, and to encourage them to consider a number of further suggestions. We’d like to see more accessible and detailed plans and visuals so the public can fully understand the scale of the impact of the proposals; we’d like Highways England to accept that a 50 metre land bridge is inadequate given the scale of the scheme and how the proposed road carves through the landscape;  Highways England has previously dismissed tunnel solutions for different route options, but we’d like to see them considered for Option 30 given the scale of impact, size, depth and length of the cutting being proposed through the AONB; and we’d like information about where site compounds will be located.

We want to encourage everyone to have their say and contribute to the consultation – whether they are road users and commuters, those who use Crickley Hill for leisure, live nearby, or people engaged with conservation. The A417 improvements will affect everyone, for many decades to come, so it is crucial that the final solution is the right one for an internationally recognised landscape.”

ENDS

 Notes to editors:

  • Highways England’s A417 Missing Link information including the consultation events can be found at: https://highwaysengland.co.uk/projects/a417-missing-link/
  • Please contact Alana Hopkins at hopkins@cotswoldsaonb.org.uk / 01451 862 003 for further information or interview opportunities.
  • The Glover Landscapes Review can be viewed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/833163/landscapes-review-final-report.pdf References to the Cotswolds as a candidate for a new National Park can be found in Chapter 4: More Special Places (pages 117 – 123)
  • The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape. www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk
  • The Cotswolds AONB is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation established in 2004 which has 37 members – 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
  • The Cotswolds is the third largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
  • The land management position statements are for use by local authorities, government agencies, land agents, advisers, land managers, farmers and the public. They, along with the planning and transport position statements are available on the Cotswolds Conservation Board’s website.
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along with National Parks, are considered to be the most special landscapes in the country and belong to an international family of protected areas.  There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland.  For further details, visit: www.landscapesforlife.org.uk. For details of the 15 National Parks in England and Wales visit: www.nationalparks.gov.uk