National Park officials ‘too fond of saying no’

Hutton-le-Hole, within the North York Moors National Park.
Hutton-le-Hole, within the North York Moors National Park.
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The authorities running England’s National Parks have for too long been seen in the same light as planning bodies whose purpose was to oppose change, the writer charged with compiling a Government review into their future said yesterday.

Julian Glover, who was commissioned earlier this year by the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, to report on how to make national parks and other green spaces “fit for the future”, said that while park authorities had tried to protect the look of their landscape and to help people who lived there, “they could often seem a bit remote – like planning authorities who are there to say no to things”.

Mr Glover added: “They would say that’s not a fair description, but it can feel a bit like that.”

He hinted that his report, due out next year, would support the building of small housing developments in communities where a shortage of homes was an issue.

“In the Yorkshire Dales, there are obvious sites where housing could be put up and there are lots of people who would like to live in those houses, but getting them built somehow seems to be quite difficult,” he said

“One of the things that needs to happen is thinking about house building in a way that encourages small sites. It’s easy get big developments proposed outside some of the urban areas which can be quite a threat to some people, but the ability to get sites of two or three houses on the edge of the village, which really could make a difference, has somehow slipped the net. But that’s the sort of thing you need to keep villages alive, not big scale developments.”

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