Posted by: dorsetcpre | July 2, 2014

Sherborne campaigner heralded by national charity as countryside champion

Sherborne resident, Peter Neal, has received a national award from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) for his leadership of a successful fight against a new Tesco supermarket and a campaign that stopped a sprawling new development in the north-west of the town.

Peter received his award from Sir Andrew Motion, CPRE president and former Poet Laureate at the charity’s annual general meeting in London last week.

Sir Andrew Motion, CPRE President, presents Countryside Champion of the Year award to Peter Neal

Sir Andrew Motion, CPRE President, presents Countryside Champion of the Year award to Peter Neal

As chair of the Keep Sherborne Viable group, Peter led a campaign to prevent Tesco from developing a supermarket in the town. Peter and his colleagues encouraged over eleven thousand people to sign their petition against the development. The campaign was victorious in September last year when plans for the supermarket were scrapped.

Peter’s part in this campaign against Tesco has also won him a Churchill Award from The Daily Telegraph.

Peter was also recognised by CPRE for being at the helm of a protest against proposals for a poorly-sited housing estate in north-west Sherborne. Along with his CPRE colleagues, the town council and other concerned residents, Peter persuaded West Dorset District planners to rethink their plans to build eight hundred houses along one of the main routes into Sherborne. The planners revised their draft local plan and reduced the number of proposed houses to five hundred.

Currently Peter and his colleagues are fighting for special heritage status for Sherborne to help protect the town against future inappropriate developments.

Peter Neal from the Sherborne and District Society CPRE, winner of the Countryside Champion CPRE Award, said:

“I’m delighted with my award from CPRE. I volunteer, like most of the members from my branch, because I want to help protect the landscapes in and around Dorset from the development threats that, unfortunately, are so rife at the moment. But it’s still humbling to be recognised for our achievements.

“It’s rewarding to campaign alongside like-minded people – even more so when those campaigns are successful and we safeguard our landscapes, or green fields, or rural towns from unnecessary or inappropriate development.

“I joined CPRE because I’m passionate about the English countryside and the beautiful towns within it. I want to do my bit to make sure that my children and generations to come can enjoy it. Organisations like CPRE are playing a crucial role in championing and protecting the value of our green and pleasant land. I’d recommend anyone who enjoys the countryside as much as I do to get involved.”

Sir Andrew Motion, President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:

“I am constantly amazed at the passion shown by CPRE’s many volunteers around England. Their dedication to the charity is humbling and also incredibly motivating. What sort of country would England be without them? Certainly a much greyer place.

“It is thanks to people just like Peter that we can still escape to our patches of tranquillity and serenity; fill our lungs with fresh air and tramp our favourite footpaths.”

The CPRE Countryside Champion of the Year award, along with £500 prize money, is presented to a volunteer whose campaigning has made a positive and lasting impact on the English countryside. The award celebrates innovative and creative projects that has engaged and inspired local people to take action.



  1. CPRE Dorset is quite right to have honoured Pete Neale. No one else would have achieved such success and his industry and determination is much to be admired. It is now upto ShrborneTown Concil to honour him also.
    David Prichard

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