The Old (backward-looking) Guard in East Devon has always viewed the idea of a National Park, created by combining the adjacent AONBs in both counties, as a threat rather than as an opportunity.
A threat because it might cramp their style in the weights they attached to the economic benefits of development against those given to protecting and enhancing the landscape. (The level of protection offered by an AONB should be the same as a National Park but EDDC in their planning decisions hasn’t interpreted it that way in the past).
Local Planning Authorities (LPA) have enormous freedom to make these subjective judgements. If you don’t like the way your LPA interprets the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) your remedy is not generally through the courts, which deal with procedural concerns, but through the ballot box.
Last May, using the ballot box was what the people of East Devon finally did. They threw out the Old Guard.
Readers might remember that the government is seriously considering following the Glover Landscape Review recommendation to create a new National Park combining the East Devon and Dorset AONB’s.
Last October the Ingham regime showed their lack of enthusiasm for breaking from the Tory past when the cabinet decided to do nothing to seize the initiative:
“Resolve to await the Governments response to the recommendations; and note that the Chilterns, the Cotswolds and the Dorset and East Devon AONBs are potential candidates for future designation as National Parks.”
This Newsletter spells out some of the OPPORTUNITIES and reviews the success the South Downs National Park has achieved in its first ten years.
A National Park proposal would tick a lot of environmental and health and well being boxes as well as potentially unlocking additional resources.
Owl hopes that at the very least East Devon now starts talking to the “Dorset” team and gets on the bandwagon.
In this Newsletter:
- Michael Dower notes why National Parks are as important today as they were 75 years ago when his father, John Dower, recommended they be established as part of a post-WW2 vision for a better world;
- We congratulate the South Downs National Park on what they have achieved in the first 10 years and welcome their priorities for the future;
- We preview a new report on Youth Engagement, Health and Well-being and the achievements of National Parks in addressing these issues;
- We chart a path towards a better future where a National Park in partnership with the Dorset Council and other partners would bring additional resources and expertise to help deliver a shared agenda Dorset-wide, creating opportunities and addressing the environmental and economic challenges we face together, and helping to secure a thriving, prosperous and sustainable future for our communities, economy and environment.