Consultation lessons from the New Forest
Gilbert-Smith, Alyson and BAGAEEN, SAMER (2012) Consultation lessons from the New Forest Town and Country Planning, 81 (6). ISSN 0040-9960
The designation of the New Forest in Southern England as a National Park (NP) in 2005 was recognition that the area exhibited a special and remarkable natural beauty that required it to be given the highest level of planning protection. The New Forest National Park Authority (NFNPA) was required to deliver with input, engagement and support from key stakeholders, a Management Plan for the area which would set out the vision, objectives and plans for the newly formed NP. In this paper, we examine and analyse aspects of this stakeholder input, its effectiveness and outcome during the consultation process. In doing so, our work exposes flaws in the preparation and management of the stakeholder consultation process, which resulted in considerable local conflict and unrest, rejection of the Draft Management Plan, further Stakeholder engagement, the loss of office of key NPA staff and a delay in the Management Plan delivery. At the same time, we also offer hope by providing insights to other similar organisations, namely the South Downs National Park, about to embark on similar stakeholder consultation programs.
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