Members needed for access forum

Rural residents in Hampshire are being urged to have their say on the future of the county's countryside.

Hampshire County Council says it wants a cross-section of views to ensure all needs are taken into account when it provides advice on rural access to developers, the public and other organisations.

The Hampshire Countryside Access Forum includes a number of interest groups.

They range from from landowners, farmers, councillors and rural business owners, to walkers, horse rider and other countryside users.

Andrew Gibson, Hampshire's executive member for culture, recreation and countryside, said: "We are looking for new members from all interest groups."

New members with expertise in public health, countryside motor vehicles, farming and land management would complement the knowledge of existing members, said councillor Gibson.

“The forum is well respected and has been working successfully for many years, thanks to the wide range of interests represented.

The statutory Local Access Forum for Hampshire – excluding the New Forest and South Downs – is a requirement of the 2000 Countryside and Rights of Way Act.

Members need to attend four meetings per year as well as task group sessions between full meetings.

They need a good knowledge and understanding of at least one countryside viewpoint, but must also be able to recognise the validity of others' views.

It is also expected that members actively seek the views of the interest group they represent.

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