Dear Matt,

Radley Lakes masterplan update

This is the vision in the Radley Lakes masterplan, published for consultation in June. You can find the full masterplan here.

Two consultation events were held in September, one in Radley Village Hall and one by Thrupp Lake. There were displays showing why the Lakes are so valuable, some of the earlier heritage and the proposals now being made in the draft masterplan. The weather was very kind, especially on the Sunday by Thrupp Lake, and 250 people came – about as many as could be managed with the need for social distancing. Most were regular Lakes visitors and quite probably FRL members. There was a feedback form to collect views and ideas.

Overall feedback about the proposals was very positive. 63% ‘strongly supported’, 35% ‘supported’, 2% were ‘neutral’, 1% ‘opposed’ and none ‘strongly opposed’. At a more detailed level, the initiative of having an overall masterplan was welcomed. There was particular support for the proposals for safe walking routes to the Lakes and for new trails within the Lakes. The balance between access and nature conservation was generally thought to be about right. Some wanted facilities such as refreshments and toilets and activities such as wild swimming, but most did not and emphasised the need for a light touch which would not disturb the peace and tranquillity which they valued. The main concerns expressed were about litter and anti-social behaviour and about the chaotic parking near Sandles. Some, while being enthusiastic about the proposals, wanted greater evidence that they could be made to happen.

The feedback was written with some care and all comments will be taken into account in the final version of the masterplan. But, reflecting the last point, it is planned to strengthen the position on delivery before the plan is launched. In particular the Radley Lakes Trust needs to be up and running ( see below) and outline agreements need to be reached with at least some of the landowners, so it is clear what is to be done and by whom. There will also be a Memorandum of Understanding with Radley Parish Council, who will be providing the majority of the funding. This should all be further advanced by the Spring, when the weather should be more cheerful too, and it is planned to launch the masterplan then. Watch this space.

Richard Dudding - Trustee, Radley Lakes Trust

The Radley Lakes Trust

In discussions with stakeholders about the masterplan, there was strong support for the idea of establishing a charitable trust, to oversee the implementation of the masterplan and the future management of the Lakes area. The task of establishing this Trust has just been completed. It is called 'The Radley Lakes Trust', and it has now been registered by the Charity Commission (Registered charity number 1192259). There are currently five trustees.

The 'public benefit' purposes of the Trust include protecting the Lakes, and advancing the causes of education, research and human health in relation to the Lakes. The Trust will seek to work with landowners, Earth Trust, local businesses and other voluntary groups. Discussions are planned about the future relationship of FRL to the Trust, given that the two bodies have very similar aims.

The creation of the Radley Lakes Trust is a significant step forward, because it means that there is now an established charitable body dedicated to managing the area in future. A formal launch of the Trust is planned for Spring 2020, and FRL looks forward to working closely with and supporting the new Trust in future.

Roger Thomas
Chairman Friends of Radley Lakes

'Thrupp Lake' © Lynda Crowley
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