People who live in the Yorkshire Dales National Park have been asked to shape a new set of planning policies, intended to guide development for the next 20 years.
A survey has been delivered to all households in the National Park and to others around it (a total of 15,116 households) via the twice-yearly Dales paper. It asks what issues the new ‘Local Plan’ needs to help tackle.
‘Consultation No.1 – Setting the agenda’ is the first stage of a four-year legal process that the National Park Authority, like all local planning authorities, must undertake.
To inform the consultation, the Authority – with the support of local district councils and North Yorkshire County Council – has published three new studies on demographic changes, housing and socioeconomic trends in the National Park.
Strikingly, they show that:
- The number of people living in the National Park is currently static but could decline by 9% by 2040.
- Halting that decline would probably require the building of at least 50 dwellings a year, with at least 20 of those being affordable.
- Within the static population, the number of people over the age 65 has increased by 45% since 2001.
- People on rates of pay equivalent to that of nurses, fire fighters and teachers currently need more than five times their annual income to buy even the cheapest housing in the National Park.
- Overall employment has grown significantly in recent years.
- Farming still accounts for one in every six jobs in the National Park, while accommodation and food services is the largest and fastest growing sector.
For a full commentary on the research, see this blog by the Park Authority’s Head of Sustainable Development, Peter Stockton.
The current Local Plan period is 2015-2030. However, the extension of the National Park boundary in 2016 created a situation in which planning policy became spread over 12 different development plan documents. The Authority decided in March this year to start to create a single new Local Plan for the whole Park.
Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority chairman, Carl Lis, said: “It is fair to say we didn’t think we’d be here again so soon, but this is a big moment for the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The new Local Plan will lead and promote development across the whole Park from 2023 to 2040. Today, we are asking local people to lay the foundations for it.
“If you don’t like current planning rules, this is your chance to say so. If you’ve got ideas about how your area could be a better place to live in or do business in, this is your chance to air them. If you think you know the best place for new homes to be built, tell us. My promise is that every view will be taken into account. This is a once-in-every-ten-year opportunity for local people to shape the development of their villages or towns.”
He added: “We’re also very interested in hearing from younger people who are keen to live in the Dales, so that the district councils and the Authority can work out ways to try to tackle the barriers they face. The studies on population, housing and socioeconomic trends very clearly illustrate that to sustain communities and the economy, we must attract people from outside the Park to come to live here.”
The Local Plan survey is available online. Copies are also available in Sedbergh Library or in Park Authority offices in Grassington and Bainbridge.
The consultation period ends on Friday 14 February 2020.