Strategy development update
The workshops held recently to initiate the development of a new strategy for the North Downs Way have now finished, and after a period of analysis and reflection by the Strategy Officer, and the Steering Group, some aspirational dates have been set for the next stages of the strategy development project.
Attended by some 30 different organisations, the workshops have been very useful in identifying a wide variety of opportunities, and threats, which relate to our National Trail - as well as coming up with some wonderful ideas for projects which could benefit users, landowners, local communities and businesses.
It was agreed by the Steering Group that the strategy will run from 2013 until 2018, with a light-touch review in 2015. Revised management and communications support will be in place by the start of the next financial year (both are presently under review by Natural England), a General Election is scheduled for 2015 and the Trail's 40th anniversary will take place in 2018.
Finance and governance
In addition to a review of the Trail's areas of influence, the Steering Group has requested that the Strategy Officer review the Governance and Finance models under which the Trail currently operates. This will be done through a time-limited "Working Group" of suitably qualified and experienced parties.
To that end, interested parties with experience of these areas (in public, private or third sectors) should get in touch. The working group will meet twice (late Aug and late Sept) and then support the Strategy Officer in writing a short list of recommendations to the Steering Group by mid October 2012.
Nb. The Steering Group is currently made up of Surrey and Kent County Councils, Medway Unitary Authority, Surrey Hills and Kent Downs AONBs.
Several workshop attendees have asked how the National Trail review currently being worked on by Natural England will affect the local (i.e. North Downs Way) strategy development.
Any decisions taken by Natural England will be considered in the development of the strategy, though specific dates are not yet available for when these will be published.
North Downs Way Strategy 2013-2018 - Project milestones
Nb. All dates are approximate and subject to change.
Closed consultation of first draft - October 2012
Online survey to measure popularity of individual projects - October 2012
Eight week public consultation - December 2012 to January 2013
Strategy launch - March 2013
If you wish to comment on the North Downs Way strategy development, please use the website contact form.