Image shows the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Waystone in the Cotswold District.

Council welcomes halt to Cotswold National Park plans

Cotswold District Council has welcomed the news that the Cotswold National Landscape Board has dropped plans to designate the Cotswolds as a National Park, a move that could have had a detrimental impact on the District Council’s planning powers and caused housing prices to skyrocket.

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. Councils in areas with National Parks are threatened with the loss of planning powers, as National Park authorities often have control over future development.

Data also suggests that houses within National Parks face a 20% premium, potentially adding £100,000 on to the average house price in the Cotswolds.

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.

“The Cotswolds already have some of the highest house prices in the country. Becoming a National Park could’ve hiked prices up even more, forcing local young people, families and key workers out of the area. It could have also handed planning powers to un-elected bureaucrats which would have been a disaster for local democracy and decision-making.

“I’m really looking forward to working with the team at the Cotswold National Landscape Board as we all share ambitions to make the Cotswolds a more prosperous and sustainable place to live.”

Contact Information

Cotswold District Council Communications Team

Notes to editors