The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s annual general meeting has voted to permanently establish parish forums as a way of improving lines of communication between the authority and local communities.
There are three parish forums – in the west, north and south of the national park.
They take place twice a year and are attended by parish councillors and senior authority staff and members.
The forums are designed to be ‘parish-led’.
Recent meetings have seen debate on housing, planning and the new five-year programme of work set out in the draft National Park Management Plan 2019-2024.
Following this week’s decision, further forums will be organised for September; the dates will be published here.
Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority chief executive, David Butterworth, said: “It is good news that the Parish Forums have been cemented permanently into the Authority’s work.
“It is essential that our members and officers are able to hear and discuss the concerns and ideas of local communities, and parish councils – at their best – represent the grassroots.
“We know from an in-depth review of the parish forums carried out in April that the parishes that have engaged with the forums have found them to be very useful.
“The forums have been places of robust debate on issues such as planning policy, potential housing sites, wildlife and the challenges facing local communities.
“But at most forums, a lot of parishes simply haven’t turned up. Parish councillors tend to be busy people, so we have work to do to make the case for the forums and get a better attendance.”