Dedham Vale National Landscape and Stour Valley
Request for a Suffolk parish representative to join the Partnership

The Dedham Vale National Landscape (NL), a new brand for Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, AONB) and Stour Valley is important – that’s why it’s designated in law – and not just to those living in it.   

It’s increasingly important, especially following the very recent law change which requires statutory and public bodies to ‘seek to further the purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the area’.   Previously they had merely to ‘have regard’ to the purpose.

The Partnership brings together a wide variety of bodies – local authorities, national government agencies, landowners and businesses, non Government Organisations, amenity societies – use this link to visit the Dedham Vale website page about member -  one of its key tasks is to prepare and supervise the Management Plan for the NL.  The Partnership acts as a champion for the Dedham Vale NL and Stour Valley area and will respond to significant development proposals and take positions on issues impacting the area. 

And the Partnership considers not only the Dedham Vale NL as currently designated, but also an area of the Stour Valley upstream of its current western boundary near Bures. This ‘project area’ stretches to near Newmarket on both sides of the River Stour that forms the county boundary

The NL staff team has more than a planning role -  (we are not a statutory consultee). It also administers grants, organises environmental improvement activities and works with landowners, undertakes projects to deliver NL purpose,(often securing significant external grants to do so). The staff team provide the secretariat for the Partnership that meets at least twice a year, but members of the Partnership are also invited to public events and Partnership only meetings to formulate positions on significant issues, for example responses to Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project consultations.

The Essex Parish Councils in the NL and Stour Valley have had a representative on the Partnership for very many years.   The principle of Suffolk PCs having a representative was agreed in 2016 but the arrangement became defunct some years ago   We need to revive it.

The method of nomination agreed in 2016 is that PCs are invited to propose candidates and the SALC Babergh Area Forum selects.

The role involves attending at two Partnership meetings per year, ensuring PCs are aware of significant NL developments especially when the Management Plan is being revised, and expressing the views of Suffolk PCs to the Partnership. Representatives will have a dual role of providing information to other Partnership members on issues of importance to Parish Councils and disseminating information from the Partnership to Parish Councils. Partnership meetings are held during working hours, often on a Friday morning. Attendance can be in person, usually in a village hall or similar or online via MS Teams. Papers are distributed around one week before the meetings.

It’s natural to expect the representative to come from a parish at least partly in the Dedham Vale NL or Stour Valley project area, of which there are 14 (see attached map) but the crucial qualification is keen interest in the NL and what it can contribute to grass roots local government.

If you would like to discuss the role please contact Simon Amstutz, 07971 909 649, manager of the Dedham Vale NL and Stour Valley staff team. 

Dedham Vale map

Notes of meeting 12th March 2024
Information - documents - recording of session