The Cotswolds will not be designated as a National Park. The Cotswolds National Landscape Board has dropped its plan – and the district council is delighted.
It has sent out a statement saying if the proposal for the Cotswolds went ahead, it would have a detrimental impact on its planning powers and seen a house price surge. It said data suggests houses within National Parks face a 20% premium, potentially adding £100,000 to house prices in the Cotswolds.
National Parks are designated landscapes chosen by the Government for the preservation of the natural environment, and each park is administered by its own authority made up of unelected officials, the district council said. Councils in areas with National Parks are threatened with the loss of planning powers, as National Park authorities often have control over future development, it added.
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Last week, Councillors endorsed the Cotswold National Landscape Management Plan (CNLMP) put forward by the Cotswold National Landscape Board. It will run for two years ahead of expected national changes to the way Areas of Outstanding National Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks are run.
The new plan places increased emphasis on the climate and ecological emergencies as well as access to nature and the countryside. The evidence within the Plan and the policies will assist in decision-making and the preparation of Council policies and projects.
In 2018, Cotswold District Council decided not to endorse the previous CNLMP, due to its emphasis on gaining National Park status. The latest management plan, however, no longer mentions this aim and the District Council has agreed to support it.
Councillor Juliet Layton, Cabinet Member for Planning and Regulatory Services, said: “I’m really pleased that the Cotswold National Landscape Board have dropped their ambition to make the Cotswolds a National Park. Our current Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designation gives more than enough protection for our beautiful natural landscape and offers the scope to enhance it further.”