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Gloucestershire Business News

Major £175k grant secured to enhance Cheltenham's landscapes

Almost £175k has been awarded by National Grid Landscape Enhancement Initiative to develop and enhance Leckhampton Hill, Charlton Kings Common and Ravensgate Common.

The £174,776 funding from the National Grid LEI scheme is designed to reduce the possible visual adverse impact that major power lines may have on the landscape through which they pass.

It is hoped the three-year project will encourage wildflower growth, provide richer food sources for wildlife, reveal views not seen since the 1960s, and restore the original dry stone wall along the boundary next to the Cotswold Way, off Hartley Lane.

The independent conservation body for Cotswolds areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) Cotswolds National Landscape, have submitted bids to the National Grid on behalf of project applicants, and this project's funding was successfully secured through partnership working between Charlton Kings Parish Council, Friends of Leckhampton Hill and Charlton Kings Common (FOLK) and Cheltenham Borough Council.

Cllr Victoria Atherstone, member for culture, wellbeing and business, said: ''We're thrilled to have received this funding from National Grid LEI. The efforts from all parties is an example of partnership working at its best. The investment will strengthen the character of the surrounding landscape, enhance the wildlife and benefit many in our communities who use the land.''

Chair of Charlton Kings Parish Council, Rob Williams, said: "We are hugely grateful to National Grid for giving us the opportunity to restore the most treasured landscapes and biodiversity hotspots in our parish. We will make the best use of every pound we have been given, to improve our small part of this nationally important landscape and make it a better place for our residents to experience the joys of being out in the countryside."

John Harvey, chair of Friends of Leckhampton Hill and Charlton Kings Common (FOLK), added: "FOLK has worked with the borough council for 20 years to manage the nationally important Limestone grassland that provides both an impressive backdrop to Cheltenham and an area that is rich in wildlife and in opportunities for enjoying the countryside.

"The generosity of National Grid offers a one-off step-change in our joint ability to deliver the vital works that will improve the valuable landscape, wildlife and recreational features of the site and guarantee their enjoyment and use into the future."

Environmentalist and broadcaster Chris Baines, who chairs the independent Stakeholder Advisory Group for National Grid's Visual Impact Provision project which includes the LEI, said: "We're delighted to be working with such a broad range of stakeholders to provide funding for this exciting project in the Cotswolds AONB and I look forward to watching their progress as they work to help to make this historic and dramatically beautiful areas even more enjoyable to visit."

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