Is the planning system threatening the protected landscape of Arcadian Thames?

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“Has the tide gone out for the protection of this historic landscape?” asks Campaign for the Protection of Rural England in their latest report, The Arcadian Thames: planning policy ignored?, which was launched at the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Kingston University yesterday.

The report argues that weakening of the planning system is putting the protected landscape of the Arcadian Thames under threat. The Arcadian Thames is the name used for the stretch of Thames between Weybridge and Kew, a historic landscape enjoyed by Londoners for hundreds of years as a result of the efforts of the campaigners at the beginning of the 20th century.

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Download PDF: Arcadian_Thames_report_FINAL_low_res.pdf

Since the successful campaign in 1902 to protect the ‘View from Richmond Hill’, the haven of green space along the Thames from Weybridge to Hampton to Kew has been conserved and protected. Also known as ‘London’s Countryside’, this extraordinarily diverse landscape collectively contains more listed buildings, conservation areas, wildlife sites and registered parks and gardens than in any other comparable location in the UK.

A number of planning decisions across the Arcadian Thames London boroughs – Kingston, Hounslow, and Richmond – both ongoing and completed, are discussed in the CPRE’s report to illustrate how various planning frameworks are enforced to allow or refuse new developments. Large-scale plans in Kingston town centre and Brentford reveal a number of issues and attitudes regarding views and vistas along this special landscape.

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