Quantock Hills Blog

Emma-Jane’s BLOG #1

- Landscape Planning Officer Emma-Jane Preece explains what she does.

Katy Coate

Posted by Katy Coate on 08 April 2014

Emma-Jane’s BLOG  #1 Having just returned from maternity leave, I am back in the saddle - well back in the desk chair at least. This is my first BLOG so I write this with trepidation; having to fill the big shoes of the more regular BLOGGERS - typically the AONB Rangers. But at their request I write BLOG #1.

So I guess a good place to start is to say “what do I really do?” 
In a nutshell, my role is about providing information that will help protect the beauty of the Quantock Hills from any unsuitable ‘development’ be that from the built environment or change of land use or otherwise.

My job broadly has two key parts.  The first is to look at the landscape as a whole and help others to consider what impacts certain developments might have on the wider landscape.  At the moment I am preparing a Landscape Character Assessment.  This document maps, describes and details the differing characteristics of the AONB and will be used to inform decisions on how the land should be managed in future.  This strategic part of my job also involves writing guidance documents, such as the guidance on keeping horses in the AONB which you can find here. Written in collaboration with the SW Protected Landscapes Forum in 2010.

The second part of my job involves commenting on planning applications within and around the Quantock Hills.  It is important to point out that I don’t make decisions on planning applications; that role is for the Local Authorities. My work is about helping to inform and influence planning decisions, through the consultation process that every planning application goes through. I make comments based on the best interests of the designated landscape - with the ultimate aim that any decisions are not at the expense of this beautiful and very special landscape we are so lucky to live and work in.

You can see comments that I have made on behalf of the AONB Service here: http://www.quantockhills.com/online_resources/view/planning_comments_jan_2013_onwards/

So if I’m not a Planner what am I?? I am a Geographer and a Landscape Architect.  Landscape Architecture is a broad profession and I specialise in Landscape Planning. According to Erv Zube, (a pioneer of Landscape Architecture who sadly died of Alzheimer’s in 2002) landscape planning is ” ...reconciling competing land uses while protecting natural processes and significant cultural and natural resources.”

So here on the Quantock Hills where conserving and enhancing the landscape is our paramount aim, the role of the landscape planner is fairly central to what we’re all about.

Bet you’re looking forward to BLOG #2 now aren’t you?



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    Dave P

    18 May 14

    Welcome home, it’s nice to have you back.

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