The Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) has decided to retain ownership and management of Stanage Edge and the North Lees Estate.
The PDNPA voted on Friday 20 September to keep the 545-hectare estate and says it will be driving forward a business plan to make it break even financially by September 2014.
Whilst climbers and walkers might see this as a good thing, the decision was made with minimal consultation and the BMC remains concerned about the PDNPA’s plans for North Lees and how it intends to raise the money needed to run the estate.
The announcement follows the BMC’s campaign ‘Stand up for Stanage’ which highlighted our concern over the lack of consultation in the run-up to the decision. The campaign was not just about who owns and runs Stanage but about transparency and consultation with all those with a stake in its future.
BMC access officer Rob Dyer gave a statement at the PDNPA’s meeting on Friday and requested a meeting to discuss the BMC’s concerns. Despite 12,500 signatures to our petition, the PDNPA has not yet agreed to a meeting although it has said that user groups will be fully involved in formulating a new vision for the estate.
In the PDNPA’s press release, committee chair Christopher Pennell said:
“This will mean people may have to be prepared to pay more than they have before, for instance for car parking, camping, refreshment concessions or for utilising buildings.”
While not actually stopping people from accessing the estate, increased charges will put up a barrier to access for some. However, the BMC welcomes Pennell’s comment that any income generated by the estate will be re-invested in the estate.
BMC access representative Henry Folkard said:
“Stanage needs a clear vision and management plan which it is currently lacking. We look forward to seeing the detailed proposals and hearing when and how stakeholders will be involved in the process. We set out the objectives we want the vision to meet in our charter and these principles have been backed by over 12,500 people. We are concerned that in a bid for the PDNPA to break even by September 2014 there will be some drastic increases in charges, which may impede the spirit of access for all.”
The nine points of the BMC’s Stanage Charter are:
This publicly-owned estate must be retained forever for everyone. It should never be fragmented.
North Lees Estate is on Open Access Land. Any commercial enterprise must not impede the spirit of access for all.
Key stakeholders – recreational users and the local community – must be consulted before decisions are made. There must be transparency in decision-making.
Caring for conservation, wildlife and landscape is paramount. There need be no conflict between this, adventure activity and quiet enjoyment.
People value Stanage as a wild area kept free from intrusive developments. This must be safeguarded.
The cultural and archaeological heritage of Stanage must be preserved.
Any revenue raised from the estate should be reinvested in the landscape.
Shooting rights should not be exercised.
The local economy relies on preservation of these values and open access.
Thanks to everyone who signed our petition.
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