Thursday, 21 July 2016

National Park for East Devon and Dorset: "could help affordable homes stay affordable"

The idea of a national park for the Jurassic Coast has now been on the tables for two years:
Futures Forum: National Park for East Devon and Dorset: questions
Futures Forum: National Park for East Devon and Dorset: the issues

As the East Devon Watch blog notes, however, the District Council is not terribly keen on the idea:


21 July 2016

Don’t get your hopes up – East Devon District Council has already stamped on it saying it would be just awful as they would lose control of planning!

“A Dorset and East Devon national park could help with affordable housing” | East Devon Watch

There have indeed been negative responses from the District Council these past two years:
‘Powerful Marketing Opportunity’ for East Devon and Dorset? New National Park proposed | Sidmouth Independent News
Housing fears for Devon-Dorset national park proposal - BBC News
Our national Jurassic Park (From Dorset Echo)

The eye-catching issue of the Dorset/East Devon national park proposal is affordable housing - and national parks around the country have been grappling with the issue for some time:
Dartmoor National Park - Affordable Housing - Adopted Version May 2014
Affordable housing success for Peak District national park | UK news | The Guardian
Affordable homes drive for Pembrokeshire national park - BBC News

Here is the full report from the Bridport & Lyme Regis News on the latest efforts for a national park in these parts:

National park for Dorset and east Devon could "help affordable homes stay affordable"

19th July 2016 / David Bol / @bridnewsdavid

CREATING a national park across part of Dorset and east Devon could help ensure affordable housing goes to local people, according to campaigners.

The Dorset and East Devon National Park Team gave a presentation to Lyme Regis Town Council last week - pointing out the benefits the proposals could bring to the town and west Dorset.

Richard Brown, speaking on behalf of the national park team, said the proposals could "help affordable homes stay affordable".

He added: "I think so many communities across Dorset are passing motions recognising that this is a great opportunity for Dorset. National parks have a good track record in promoting the provision of affordable homes and keeping such homes affordable and available for local people." He added: "It would help develop affordable homes and a coherent Dorset tourism strategy."

Speaking about a national park established in the South Downs, Mr Brown said that "people now stay longer and spend more". Although the project could be "five or six years away", Mr Brown pointed out that "the proposed national park for Dorset remains unfinished business".

The team say Natural England has already undertaken a positive first assessment of the proposal submitted to them in 2013. The team's current proposal for a national park includes the Dorset AONB land from Lyme Regis to Blandford Forum, excluding the Dorchester area, as well as much of Purbeck and east Devon, excluding Seaton and Sidmouth. But the national park boundary has yet to be finalised.

Mr Brown added: "The environment and the economy are two halves of the same coin. All of Dorset would benefit from the economic stimulus a national park brings. They are not against development. They work hard through local partnerships to deliver what local people want."

The concept of creating a national park gained the backing of some town councillors. Cllr Derek Hallett remained cautious, urging members to "look at it very carefully", while Cllr Jeff Scowen described the proposals as "a marvellous idea". Mayor of Lyme Regis, Cllr Owen Lovell said it was difficult for members to either support or oppose the concept at such an early stage.

Councillors agreed to support the further evaluation of the potential benefits of the creation of a national park. In a report to councillors, deputy town clerk Mark Green, said: "Although the opportunity to create a new national park is being linked to proposals to review the delivery of local government services across the area, members are not being asked to support any particular model for local government reorganisation, simply to consider supporting the further evaluation of the potential benefits of the creation of a national park. Several town and parish councils across Dorset have already supported the further evaluation of the proposal."

National park for Dorset and east Devon could "help affordable homes stay affordable" (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)

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