Now is the time to act to help secure a National Park for Dorset – and transform the rural parts of the county into an ‘economic powerhouse’.

That’s the message from the people behind a bid to bring a National Park to the county, as an independent review is being carried out by the government.

The Glover Review has issued a call for evidence for its work in reviewing England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), and everyone – whether they live, work or just enjoy visiting the areas – is invited to contribute.

It comes as a report sets out how a National Park would give Dorset an economic boost, including a ‘halo effect’ for towns just outside the park’s boundaries, such as Weymouth and Dorchester, which would become a gateway to provide services and accommodation for visitors.

The proposed park would cover the whole of the current Dorset and East Devon AONBs, as well as Purbeck and Egdon Heath.

Richard Brown from the Dorset National Park team said: “Now is the time – with a government review looking at the possibility of new National Parks – for all those with an interest in and responsibility for growing Dorset’s economy to come together and support a Dorset National Park. Together we can deliver a vision for Dorset that can benefit our outstanding county and the whole country.”

The bid to create a Dorset National Park has been ongoing for several years and it’s not the first time those behind the idea have spoken of economic benefits. In fact, the scheme is driven by a desire to combat the area’s low productivity and low wages.

The report, prepared by Cumulus Consultants, recognises that Dorset’s brand, based on the quality of its natural and built environment, already plays a major role in the marketing of the county, but it adds: “In spite of its outstanding landscapes, heritage and quality of life, the county has yet to develop a coherent tourism strategy or to promote itself effectively to national and international visitors, mobile businesses or investors.”

It also points out that the overall unemployment rate in England’s National Parks is half the national rate – two per cent compared to four per cent.

A national park could also help contribute to the delivery of rural services such as promoting affordable housing and public transport, investing in community facilities and promoting investment in broadband and mobile communications.

Paul Silcock, one of the authors of the report, said: “The proposed Dorset National Park presents an exceptional opportunity for residents, businesses and investors whether in the county, in neighbouring areas or thinking of locating to Dorset. It will safeguard and enhance Dorset’s exceptional natural assets and will unlock a wide range of economic benefits and opportunities for the whole county and neighbouring areas.”

People have until Tuesday, December 18 to contribute their thoughts to the review.

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