In January I wrote a small piece on why the Sherborne and District Society CPRE was behind the campaign to keep Tesco from developing on the site of the Sherborne Hotel. These views have been vindicated by the wonderful news that Tesco is not to proceed with its plans.
I do not wish to repeat all of what is in the press release, which is available on this site, but I do want to say what a privilege it has been to chair the Keep Sherborne Viable Group (KSVG). This smallish group of individuals, with various differing reasons for why they wanted to be involved in resisting a superstore on the edge of Sherborne, started to work together and became the KSVG. We had in the group a wide range of talents, skills, a very professional approach and great enthusiasm for the cause. All factors which lead to the success of the campaign. We also had huge support from the public and my personal thanks for all the support that was given. I hope this will remain as work continues to cement the viability of the town centre and of course the Sherborne Hotel.
We have to be ever vigilant that we do not lose the unique nature of the English countryside and the small towns and villages within it. As Philip Larkin in his 1974 poem ‘Going, Going’ said so poignantly:
And that will be England gone.
The shadows, the meadows, the lanes,
The guildhalls, the carved choirs,
There’ll be books; it will linger on
In galleries; but all that remains
For us will be concrete and tyres.
Currently the countryside is under as great a threat as it has been in for many years. The Society, of which I am chairman, is a group of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and shares its aims of protecting, shaping and standing up for the countryside and its small towns and villages. In particular to be concerned about local developments which fail to enhance the special nature of Sherborne and its local villages. One of our main objectives currently is to work to achieve Special Heritage status for Sherborne.
If you are not a member of the Society may I urge you to join and help in our on-going work. For more details of CPRE nationally go to www.cpre.org.uk and please do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for how to become involved locally.