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Friday, 4 January 2013

Your view matters, says national park

Your view counts — and there's still time to make it known.

That's the message from Yorkshire Dales National Park bosses who want to gauge public opinion on how to shape the future of the area.

Broadband provision, quarrying and retaining access to services are just three issues that have been highlighted by residents as part of the consultation.

The authority says the public has until Friday 11 January to make its views known on two important documents with a shared vision that will shape the future of the area.

The first is the national park authority's new local plan – the main planning policy document for the area. Its purpose is to provide a clear local framework to guide and promote new development where it is needed while protecting the quality of the area’s unique historic, natural and built environment.

The detailed policies contained in the final version will be used to determine planning applications and the development of land and buildings from 2015 to 2030.

Peter Stockton, the authority's head of sustainable development, said: “We are right at the beginning of the plan-making process. At this stage we are asking local communities and organisations what sort of issues they want planning policy to address.

VIBRANCY
“In the Issues Report currently under consultation, we have outlined those that we think are likely to be relevant over the next 15 years, such as policy on visitor accommodation, town centre vibrancy and provision for the needs of the elderly.

“We’ve had a range of comments so far on subjects including broadband provision in the national park, access to services, and the quarrying industry.

“Over the next month, we are holding meetings with interested groups but would like to receive any further written comments by Friday 11 January. We will then gather more evidence and draft policy options, prior to more detailed consultation later this year.”

The other key document under consultation is the national park's draft management plan, an overarching publication that gives direction to the work of all those that help to look after the area.

BEAUTIFUL BUT FRAGILE LANDSCAPE
It has been produced in a partnership including district and county councils, the Environment Agency, Natural England and representatives of local businesses like the Dales Farmer Network, and sets out a strategy for caring for this beautiful but fragile landscape for the next five years.

The initial Your Yorkshire Dales National Park questionnaire ran throughout spring 2012 and asked what kind of place people wanted the national park to be in future and what changes, if any, they would like to see.

Following months of consultation, investigation and writing, the draft plan contains an ambitious vision, with three areas identified as central to the area's future and its communities: improving the quality of the tourism offer, getting good access to broadband, and enhancing wildlife.

Steering group chair Carl Lis said: “The views of the public have been vital in helping create the draft plan and will be equally vital to its success.

“We really value your comments. There is still time to have your say and I would encourage all to participate.”

Both documents, feedback to date and details on how to comment are available on the National Park Authority’s website at www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/your.