Housing fears for Devon-Dorset national park proposal

Campaigners have put forward the idea of a national park to stretch along the Jurassic Coast from Exmouth in Devon to Poole in Dorset

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Plans for a new national park could put "enormous pressure" on housing, according to a local council.

The area in Dorset and East Devon has been proposed by a group which wants to connect a number of protected sites.

East Devon District Council has recommended councillors oppose the plans, saying they would result in a loss of planning powers and could restrict growth.

A final decision will be made by Natural England.

The proposals, put forward by Dorset and East Devon National Park Group, include the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in East Devon and the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset.

'Protect and preserve'

Paul Diviani, leader of the district council, said: "We are quite happy with our AONBs - we are more than happy with the designation as it stands.

"We are a beautiful place, there is no need to put a designation for the sake of it.

"We're never worried about powers, or losing powers, sovereignty is not an issue in this case."

However, Mr Diviani said if the authority was to lose its planning powers it would put "enormous pressure" on others parts of the district which were not designated.

He said: "National Parks are areas where people will operate on the basis that they protect and preserve rather than conserve and enhance."

Natural England said it had not yet received an application for the park.

There are nine national parks in England plus the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads, which have equivalent status.

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