Peak park’s budget to be slashed by six per cent

Eccles Pike looking towards Mount Famine and Kinder Scout
Eccles Pike looking towards Mount Famine and Kinder Scout
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THE PEAK District National Park Authority has had its budget slashed by six per cent in the latest round of Government cuts.

The cut, announced by Defra, is in line with other national parks and reductions to local authority budgets in England.

The news was revealed in a blog by Jim Dixon, chief executive of the national park, as he looks back at its highlights over the last 12 months.

He said the authority’s grant will fall from £7.85 million in 2011-12 to £6.5 million in 2014-15.

The savings are being made by not replacing five people who are being made redundant voluntarily and two members of staff who are retiring.

One further employee is at risk of compulsory redundancy.

But Mr Dixon said money had been earmarked for the park’s most important projects which included developing a new tourism strategy and taking on two apprentices.

He said: “The last year has been, in equal measure, a successful and challenging year for the nation and also for the national park too.

“We’ve had our Royal and Olympic moments and achieved many great things. And we’ve faced up to further real challenges to our budgets and with developments in the national park.”

Mr Dixon said the highlights had included a visit by Prince Charles to Haddon Hall, where he met some of the park’s longest serving volunteers, and the arrival of the Olympic torch relay in Bakewell.

More than 100,000 people have cycled along the Monsal Trail and Mr Dixon said the park’s Trails Management Plan would boost cycling opportunities ‘at a time when it has never been more popular or high profile’.

The park celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Kinder Trespass with a birthday ramble in April.

The park’s Moors for the Future project celebrated its tenth birthday and was visited by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in the summer.

Mr Dixon said more than 30 heritage agricultural buildings had been conserved in 2012, 21 new businesses had been awarded an environmental quality mark and 12 affordable homes had been built in Grindleford.

He added ‘firm action’ had been taken against illegal use of 4x4s and off-road vehicles on the Peak’s ‘green lanes’ – historic tracks used by walkers, cyclists, horse riders and motor vehicles.

And he was disappointed the High Court had ruled against the park’s experimental ban on 4x4s at Chapelgate.

What do you think about the Peak District budget cuts? Email: letters@thestar.co.uk