Should we part of a national park? Join us for a debate on 29 November

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.

We live in one of the most beautiful areas of the country. We have so much beauty surrounding us that we often forget its there. It is ordinary to us but astonishing to people who come here.

My view is that national park will be beneficial for South Shropshire. It will promote the economy. But there could be downsides like too many visitors or rising house price. There could be upsides like more affordable housing. More businesses within and around the national park.

The context for our meeting is a review launched by environment secretary Michael Gove. Led by Julian Glover, who spent part of his childhood in Shropshire, it will look the future of national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. Glover’s review has no remit to designate or recommend new national parks. But all the national park hopefuls around the country will be hoping that he recommends a call for new national parks.

My view is that we should at that point submit a bid for national park status. A national park that stretches from Ironbridge to the Mortimer Forest. Embracing the Titterstone Clee, the Long Mynd, the Stiperstones, Bishop’s Castle and Clun.

But that is only my view. We need a huge public debate. But we could be on the cusp of an opportunity to shape the future of south Shropshire and north Herefordshire.

That debate begins on 29 November. Come and join us at Elim Church on Smithfield, Ludlow. The debate will begin at 7pm and end at 9pm.

The meeting will be hosted by the Ludlow and Clee Local Joint Committee, one of Shropshire Council’s area committees.  

4 comments on Should we part of a national park? Join us for a debate on 29 November

  1. Dear Andy,
    South Shropshire is already an AONB. Have you discussed this with the AONB Partnership? They would be the key people – and perhaps only people – you need to consult in this. I think it’s unlikely that it would be upgraded however my colleague, David Lovelace, does know the whole history about north Herefordshire being a possible AONB in the past and would be the best person to consult on this. There is a core of organisational and independent professionals including myself who do know about all the issues around Mortimer Forest and conservation the region and it has been frustrating that we have not been properly consulted. We could have shortcut what has been an unnecessarily long and difficult battle.
    Julia Walling
    Woods for Wellbeing

    1. Yes, it has been discussed both by the AONB and with the AONB. But the idea is for a national park bigger than the AONB. Everyone needs to be involved. Parishes, town councils, tourist businesses, residents, wildlife organisations…

      That’s why we are organising a public debate tomorrow. Whatever the outcome of that debate, there is a long way to go.

      If you have followed the details of the Glover Review, you will know that new national parks are in his mind. There are a dozen of areas around England preparing bids. Should the government decide to ask for new national parks, we need to decide where we stand.

    1. This is not an anti development idea or anti Forest Holidays. It is about securing the future of our precious landscape and the livelihoods of people who live in it.

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