Proposals to designate the entire Island a national park will go before the Isle of Wight Council tomorrow (Wednesday).
Currently, the Isle of Wight does not qualify for National Park status, and an idea was previously proposed the Island join forces with the New Forest.
However, Independent councillor, Cllr Debbie Andre, is seeking a new designation for the Island, that would see it classed as an ‘Island Park’.
Cllr Andre is asking the council to make representations to the Glover Review supporting its creation.
The motion said this would be ‘properly funded by government and come with appropriate powers’.
National Park status for the Island is something the Isle of Wight MP supported in his manifesto.
Looking to extend scope of national parks
Nearly 70 years after National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) were first established, the Glover Review is looking to see if there is scope to expand the current network of 34 AONBs and ten national parks.
The review, led by writer Julian Glover, will also explore how access to these landscapes can be improved, how those who live and work in them can be better supported, and their role in growing the rural economy.
Currently, the Isle of Wight does not qualify for national park status, and an idea was previously proposed the Island join forces with the New Forest.
Of this plan, Cllr Andre said:
“In terms of planning, national parks have their own planning. They take away their own planning from the local authority, and that would be disastrous for the Island.
“We have the most wonderful towns on the Island, and each one has its own unique character. It’s so much more than just those areas of outstanding natural beauty.”
Andre: “A strong case”
Cllr Andre said there was a very strong case for an Island park.
Of the benefits, Cllr Andre said:
“We could gain powers we don’t currently have, in terms of planning powers, AONB, working together with planning, with the environment, with housing — it goes across the whole range of services that affect people in their daily lives. We could shape a specific designation for the Island.”
There are concerns the plans would subject the Island to more stringent planning rules and a national park authority.
However, Cllr Andre said:
“This review is looking at new designations. I think there is this idea the AONB restrict planning — it’s not the case.”
The plans will be discussed by full council tomorrow evening at County Hall.
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Image: © Chris Hadfield