THE problems national parks can bring to neighbouring towns and villages have been brought starkly into the spotlight in a new report.

East Hampshire District Council was asked for its views by the government, which is looking into the future of national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Angela Glass, the council’s portfolio holder for planning, presented the report – and pulled no punches.

It states that within East Hampshire there are instances where the national park boundary has caused planning issues.

It highlights the split parish of Bramshott and Liphook, where the South Downs National Park (SDNP) boundary closes off a considerable part of the parish from any form of comprehensive development which may benefit the area.

The report points out the boundary – which was set by the SDNPA – encroaches upon the most sustainable and logical area for development of the town.

It says this denies the opportunity to create road links to the station and schools to avoid the centre of the town, where five roads converge in The Square, causing gridlock at peak times.

The report says, in addition, the boundary has caused problems to the qualifying body of the Bramshott and Liphook Neighbourhood Plan.

They have been told by the SDNP representative that any development of land within this area would be refused – even though it is seen by many as the most logical area.

During a consultation process by EHDC as part of the Joint Core Strategy – the forerunner to both the current Local SDNP Plan and the new EHDC Local Plan, which currently under review – residents said they supported development on this land.

The current SDNP Local Plan, which is before the inspector, makes no mention at all of Liphook as a possible area for development.

The report concludes boundaries of a national park need to take into consideration the effect on towns or villages. It suggests national park boundaries would be better following a parish boundary if the majority of the village is within the district council area.

A split settlement cannot expand, it says, if it is constricted by the boundaries of a national park – and will lead communities to die as it does not deliver sustainable settlements.

It adds the same problems apply to other areas, including Bramshott and Liphook.