National Park plan 'bonkers' says council leader
By Richard Wright | 25th August 2021
Plans to make the Cotswolds a National Park have been labelled 'bonkers' by the local council leader.
Councillor Joe Harris, Liberal Democrat Leader of Cotswold District Council, said he would never support the plans.
The area is currently protected under Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty status, but reports suggest the Government is considering upgrading this to national park designation.
Cllr Harris said: "We have a housing affordability crisis in the Cotswolds and this will only make matters worse.
"A National Park designation, as we've seen elsewhere, adds a premium to house prices and rents. In the Cotswolds, this will make the dream of home ownership or even just renting somewhere to live even more difficult for ordinary people."
He suggested it would mean thousands of new homes could be built in Cirencester and Moreton-in-Marsh which have already had hundreds built there with accompanying concerns about adequate infrastructure to support them.
He added: "These plans are bonkers and I hope the Conservative Government will think again. Cotswold District Council will never support these plans as long as the Lib Dems are running the Council."
Steve Gardner-Collins, chairman of Visit Gloucestershire, said: "The Cotswolds is one of England's national treasures and we are very fortunate to have this beautiful asset in Gloucestershire.
"Residents and Visitors alike enjoy this beautiful landscape and it is so important that it flourishes and that it is a place that everyone can live, visit and enjoy.
"Our tourism industry is a very important employer and any major changes need to be fully supported for a sustainable future.
"These plans need to support opportunities for future generations, the plans are ambitious, and it is important that there is engagement across all levels to ensure that this is the right future for The Cotswolds and the County."
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