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IN BRIEF

PARKS, COUNTRYSIDE & WATERWAYS

Former Blantyre quarry set for major overhaul

A former clay quarry in

Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, is set to be transformed into a new £300,000 Urban Fringe park under plans unveiled by South Lanarkshire Council. The 27-hectare (66.7-acre) Redlees Quarry site off Blantyre Farm Road will undergo a renovation in the coming months after plans for phase one were given the green light by the council's planning committee.

Forestry Commission renews advisory bodies

Nine regional committees,

responsible for advising the Forestry Commission on policy throughout England, have been renewed. Each of the committees assist the implementation of forestry and related policies at a regional level, while also offering advice on issues that affect the management of woodland areas on a national basis. Professor John Moverley (West Midlands) and Graham Usher (North East) have been appointed chair of their respective committees for the first time, while many chairs have now entered a second term.

Consultation over Croydon park plans

Local residents in Croydon, south London, have been given the chance to put forward ideas for improvements at nine parks as part of a consultation. An internet message board was set up by Croydon Council to allow people to have their say throughout February on plans to spend £1.5m on the nine parks that were chosen by the public. The council will now draw up options for each of the parks to be put before residents, who will decide how the money will be spent as part of the Parks To Be Proud Of initiative.

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NT's Stackpole estate set for facelift

Heritage and environmental centre set for transformation as part of £3m project

By Pete Hayman

Welsh heritage minister Alun Ffred Jones has revealed plans for a £3m transformation of the National Trust's (NT) Stackpole estate in Pembrokeshire, south west Wales. Four main elements of work

comprise efforts to overhaul the 2,000-acre (809.4-hectare) heritage and environmental centre, which has received £1.6m from the European Regional Development Fund. NT funds will provide the

remaining balance for the scheme, which will include improvements to accommoda- tion at the former Home Farm Complex for students, volun- teers and adult groups. The former Stackpole Court

and the Brewery Complex will be revamped to enable visitors

The scheme has already received £1.6m of funding from the EU

to see how the estate's landscape was shaped and to see how the infrastructure allowed it to function. Work will be carried out on

the Historic Core and Wood- lands to improve access and preserve historic features and buildings, while trees planted during the 1950s will be

removed to allow natural woodland to emerge. Jones said: "The facilities will

be an exemplar of sustainable development in the sensitive environment of the Pembroke- shire Coast National Park, and provide opportunities that will help people enjoy, learn about, and care for the environment."

Council opposes national park boundary proposals

By Tom Walker

Cumbria County Council (CCC) has rejected plans to extend the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks due to fears over a "democratic deficit" in decision-making. According to the council,

issues currently dealt with by elected councillors on a county or district level would be taken by unelected members of a national park authority if plans were allowed to go ahead. CCC also said the proposals,

which would affect the Eden and South Lakeland areas, could increase house prices and would bring about more stringent planning restrictions. Southern and eastern

boundaries of the Lake District, and the northern and western sides of the Yorkshire Dales,

The council opposes plans to extend the Lake District's boundaries

would have extended into Cumbria under proposals put forward by Natural England. CCC cabinet member for the environment Tim Knowles said:

"While we do work closely and constructively with the national park authorities and Natural England, we feel we can't support proposals that will take decisions out of the hands of

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democratically elected members and could have a negative impact on some of our local communities. "Areas that Natural England

are proposing become parts of the national parks are already beautiful and unspoiled areas of countryside and this won't change if they aren't incorpo- rated into the national parks."

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