A BID to create a new national park in Dorset is gaining support.

Several organisations have now expressed their support for the plans –which could bring government funding of up to £90m to the area – and a website has also been launched to promote the idea.

Dorset & East Devon National Park Team submitted their proposal to Natural England in 2013 and evaluations of the plans are now underway by Dorset councils.

Chideock parish councillors, the Chideock Society and Beaminster Society have all backed the plans.

A spokesman for the Dorset National Park team said: “Supporters of the proposal say that Dorset’s landscape and heritage are very special and are ranked among England’s finest by the Royal Society for the Arts. The environment is our greatest economic asset, as research for DCC shows, and a Dorset National Park would have a responsibility to conserve and enhance this, as well as a duty to foster the economic and social wellbeing of its communities.

“A National Park would work with communities, businesses, landowners and farmers to plan for appropriate development in the right places, reflecting local needs including for affordable homes for local people. A National Park would attract additional funding and resources, including central government grant, and open doors for further funds, for example for sustainable transport. The South Downs National Park, which has a similar area and population to the Dorset proposal, benefitted the local economy and communities by securing around £90m funding in its first five years.”

A presentation was delivered at a meeting of Chideock parish council and councillors voted unanimously to welcome the opportunities a National Park could bring.

It’s hoped the park will cover the entire Isle of Purbeck and the Jurassic Coast from Exmouth to Poole Harbour, including the Dorset and East Devon Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The new website, www.dorsetnationalpark.com, sets out the case for the creation of a National Park, and states that it would be a ‘National Park for the 21st Century’.

It adds: “National Parks are a successful business model, working with partners to deliver a wide range of economic and social benefits, including good quality employment, increased resources for spending and investment in the area, improved health and wellbeing, sustainable development and ‘joined-up’ conservation.”