Natural Scenery

Parts of Rochdale included in plans for new National Park

Helen Noble, Chief Executive of Pennine Prospects who is leading the project.

An alternative National Park which covers parts of Rochdale has been launched.

South Pennines Park, which will cover 460 square miles, includes parts of Rochdale, Greater Manchester as well as parts of Rossendale, Bury, Bolton and Yorkshire was launched on September 10.

It aims to ensure residents and visitors enjoy the natural resources of the only upland in England that is not a designated National Park or Area of Outstanding Beauty.

Parts of Rochdale included in the new park include Whitworth, Littleborough, Milnrow and Newhey.

The launch event saw the unveiling of the new park logo, a first play of a showcase film for the area and a performance of an anthem for the park from folk duo O’Hooley and Tidow.

First discussed in the 1940s, the new model is being established by Pennine Prospects, who are working in partnership with local authorities in the park area, as well as Natural England, United Utilities, Yorkshire Water, the National Trust, transport providers and other communities and conservation groups.

Chief executive of Pennine Prospects, Helen Noble, said: “The need for a park was absolutely clear because the South Pennines Park region needs a champion at national level to fight for it, protect it and seek sustainable investment.

“Over 8 million people live within 30 minutes of the park and more than 660,000 live in it — twice the population of all the English National Park put together.

“It is an area of stunning scenery; a spectacular ever-evolving landscape that has been moulded and shaped by the people, the packhorses, footsteps of yesteryear; rich in industrial and cultural heritage.”

Helen added that establishing the park will ensure support for cross boundary working on key projects, like flood protection, tourism, transport, heritage and conservation.

She said: “This is an exciting, bold forward-thinking vision for one of the UK’s most diverse and unique regions.

“We’re excited to be taking an inclusive approach to making the South Pennines Park work for the people who live, work and visit it.

“It will unlock the resources needed to ensure residents and visitors enjoy the positive benefits of being closer to nature.”

The South Pennines Park is situated between Greater Manchester, the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, and West Yorkshire, and covers 460 sq miles.

The move to establish the new support structure for the South Pennines Park follows on from the Government-commissioned Glover Review into the future of the nation’s designated landscapes.

Helen added: “To get to this stage we have brought together communities, public and private sector bodies and other stakeholders.

“Together we have a shared vision for the Park and we are all committed to working together to champion the area.

“Without the Park, each body is left to compete for funding.

“This approach means they can pool resources and drive collaboration in key areas like conservation, tourism, transport and hospitality.

“But a common thread for all our partners is ensuring we connect people to nature.”

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