Have your say on National Park’s five-year vision

Launching the National Park Partnership Plan Consultation are, from left:
Gill Walker (National Park ranger), Andy Biddulph (modern apprentice at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park), National Park chief executive Gordon Watson, Nartional Park convenor James Stuart, Ben Anderson (modern apprentice at Callander Youth Project), Jamie Proudfoot (senior youth worker at Callander Youth Project). Pic: Martin Shields

RESIDENTS and those working in the G63 area are being invited to have their say on a five-year plan to widen the social, environmental, cultural and economic benefits of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.

The draft National Park Partnership Plan 2018-2023 sets out a broad-ranging vision for how the Park Authority along with its partners proposes to tackle priorities such as rural development and investment in towns and villages as well as youth employment, climate change, outdoor recreation and health and wellbeing

The 12-week consultation on the draft plan runs from Monday 10 April to Monday 3 July.

The plan outlines a set of priorities covering conservation, visitor experience and rural development, including:

  • Attracting and retaining more skilled working age and young people
  • Encouraging people of all abilities and backgrounds to enjoy the outdoors
  • Supporting a thriving visitor economy
  • Addressing the impacts of climate change
  • Investing in towns and villages’ built and historic environment, public spaces and infrastructure
  • Getting more people to experience the health and wellbeing benefits of connecting with nature and the outdoors.
  • Empowering communities
  • Protecting natural resources for future generations
  • Conserving and enhancing the area’s special landscape
  • Facilitating integrated management of land and water to provide wider benefits for people and nature.

The plan is the first major piece of work led by the new Convener of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, James Stuart.

He said: “The National Park is a truly special place and this plan proposes how we along with a wide range of other organisations, can work together over the next five years to look after, enhance and make the most of it. By working collaboratively with all of our partners we can achieve a much greater impact.

“The focus is on big priorities for action that are most likely to make a lasting difference to the area, its communities, the people who visit and to the Scottish economy.

“This is an exciting time for the National Park and we want people to get involved in planning the future of the area by telling us what they think of the vision set out in this draft plan.”

The priorities set out in the Partnership Plan have been developed to tackle key issues within the National Park such as an ageing and declining population. While the population of Scotland as a whole is getting older, within the National Park it is the loss of population specifically of working age that is creating an imbalance.  The National Park is also one of the most expensive places to buy a home due to high demand for commuting, retirement or holiday homes. 

The National Park Authority and its partners will continue to work together to support more opportunities for younger people and those of working age to stay within or move to the area by providing training and skills development.

They will link education providers with local businesses and employers. There will also be continued investment and support for the development of affordable housing within the National Park and support for the protection and improvement of local services, facilities and infrastructure to benefit local communities.

Gordon Watson,chief executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, said:

“There is already some great work being undertaken within the National Park to provide young people with opportunities to gain valuable skills and experience to support their future employment. We want to build on that by working closely with our partners to broaden that range of opportunities, whether it’s through training, volunteering, modern apprenticeships and employment so that young people growing up in the National Park aren’t missing out on the opportunities that those living in more urban areas have access to.

“We are confident that this along with measures to address the lack of affordable housing options and efforts to protect and enhance local services and infrastructure, will ensure a bright future for young people living and working within the National Park.”

Author: editor

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