South Shropshire could benefit from extra funding under the umbrella of a new National Landscapes Service if recommendations of a report to the government published yesterday are accepted. There will be new national parks but not in Shropshire. My proposal last year to create a Shropshire Hills National Park failed to gain widespread support. A government commissioned review is calling for a new national park in the Chilterns and says that the government should also consider creating national parks in the Cotswolds and Dorset. I would not be surprised if other areas of outstanding natural beauty unilaterally declare themselves to be national parks. They will be following the footsteps of the Broads and London in doing so. Maybe we should do the same in Shropshire.
In recent months we have been discussing the idea of creating a national park in South Shropshire, perhaps extending into Herefordshire to embrace the Mortimer Forest and into Telford and Wrekin to include Ironbridge. There has been a pretty cool reception to this idea from policy makers but a warmer reception from business and members of the public.
I have always emphasised that the government is not at this stage proposing to create new national parks. It is reviewing the way that national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty operate and the scope for extending them or creating new designated areas. The review is led by Julian Glover. This is my written submission to the review – which has now closed.
Tomorrow night, Thursday, the Ludlow and Clee Local Joint Committee will be holding a public debate on the idea of seeking national park status at 7pm, Thursday 29 November. Please join us at Elim Church Hall, just off Smithfield car park in Ludlow.
We will also be announcing an innovative project on tackling mental health issues among young people.
Please join us.
More on the national park concept: It’s time for South Shropshire be designated a national park? Should we part of a national park?
I have been promoting the idea of South Shropshire becoming a national park. I hear more support for this idea than I hear opposition. A recent straw poll in the Shropshire Star was 70/30 in favour. There is a lot of debate to be had. A lot of work to do.
The start the ball rolling, the Ludlow and Clee Local Joint Committee will be holding a public debate on the idea on 29 November. Please join us.