Group urge park to alter

Over 300 residents have joined a campaign group to call on the Peak District National Park Authority to be more accountable.

The group wants the authority to be more transparent and wants to see all members elected.

They are gathering examples where people feel the authority has not treated them fairly and will be sending them to the government.

Supporter Pam Russell said: “Lots of people feel they have been mistreated by the Peak Park.

“We are asking people to come along to our meetings and if they have any grievances to bring examples to us.”

The group feels it has already had an impact after the Secretary of State announced the only way forward for National Parks is democratic elections.

The Peak District National Park Authority is one of two authorities set to introduce this in a pilot scheme in 2013.

The latest copy of Park Life, the community newsletter produced by the Peak Park includes a message from the chair Tony Favell who states he would like the authority to be more visible and accountable.

Mrs Russell said: “We would welcome this but when is it going to happen? He should have made changes already.”

The group was formed by Steve Hardwick who now tapes and records the Peak Park’s meetings,

He said: “Members need to be made accountable and transparent. They were put there in order to be the democratic safeguarders of fairness and truthfulness.”

The group’s next meeting will take place at 8pm on November 17 at Calver village hall.

A spokeswoman for the Peak Park said: “We are happy to talk to any planning applicant and always try to reach an amicable solution.

“In common with other planning authorities we have processes in place for resolving any disputes. We are always looking at ways of improving our planning services and making the process easier for applicants.

“The authority’s performance is scrutinised by outside bodies such as the audit commission, local government ombudsman and planning inspectorate.”