Posted: Thu 9th May 2024

Welsh Government’s North East Wales National Park plan may drive up local housing costs

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales


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Concerns have been raised that plans to create a new national park in north-east Wales could make house prices unaffordable for local people.

The Welsh Government is looking to create a national park based around the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley, which is already designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

If the plans go ahead, it would become the fourth national park in Wales alongside Eryri (Snowdonia), the Pembrokeshire Coast and Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons).

Draft plans showing areas which could be covered were revealed by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) in October last year, including parts of Denbighshire, Flintshire, Wrexham and Powys.

The pledge to establish Wales’ first new national park since 1957 formed part of Welsh Labour’s manifesto at the last Senedd election in 2021.

However, fears have been raised by a Plaid Cymru politician that it could lead to a rise in house prices in locations which are included within the park.

Llyr Gruffydd, regional MS for North Wales, said it could also lead to problems with parking and traffic, similar to those experienced by residents in Eryri.

Addressing Julie James, cabinet secretary for planning, in the Senedd chamber yesterday (Wednesday, 9 May), he said: “I’m aware that there are potential impacts on affordability of housing in that area for local residents who may be affected inadvertently by the designation.

“I’m also very aware of the need to invest in appropriate infrastructure.

“As welcome as additional visitors would be, we need to avoid a situation where we replicate some of the challenges that we’ve seen in Eryri, where there have been parking problems, blocked roads and a lack of sufficient public facilities.

“What assurances can you give us that, as part of the work of preparing towards a new national park in north-east Wales, all of these factors are being considered?”

NRW has been tasked by ministers with evaluating the case for the new park and previously advertised for consultants to carry out an assessment of areas which could be included.

They will be required to provide a summary of their findings, including a detailed draft boundary of the area covered.
NRW has already held several consultation events into the proposals, with a provisional map including locations such as Gronant Dunes, Hope Mountain, the Ceiriog Valley and Lake Vyrnwy.

Responding to Mr Gruffydd’s concerns, Ms James said a range of issues would be considered before formal plans are brought forward.

The Labour MS said: “Part of the designation process is to go through all of the pros and all of the cons…to come to a conclusion that suits the inhabitants of the area.

“It is about enhancing, protecting and recognising very beautiful landscapes across Wales, but it is also about making sure that those landscapes are then not subject to overtourism, for example.

“I was in Eryri very recently and I was being told about the number of walkers who consider themselves to be guardians of the environment but think it’s fine to drop their banana peel on the road, because they think it’s biodegradable.

“The fact that it’s full of things that shouldn’t be found in that environment is one of the things that they’ve been working very hard on.”

She added: “I was very sad to see the statistics that show that, on most of the major routes up Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), there’s contamination every two feet with some kind of substance that shouldn’t be there.

“Helping the national parks help their visitors to understand the impact of tourism, and what they can do to enhance that environment and not take away from it, is important.”

Ms James said a final decision on the plans was expected to be made next year.

By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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