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Top National Park planner reaches 35-year milestone

This is an archived press release

Monday 22 August 2005

22 August 2005

Top National Park planner reaches 35-year milestone

The Peak District National Park is famous for its scenic beauty and traditional villages - and the planning officer largely responsible for keeping it that way has just celebrated 35 years service.

John Davies, head of development control for the Peak District National Park Authority, was congratulated by planning chair Narendra Bajaria for his contribution to both conservation and progress.

"Thirty-five years working for the Authority - 26 of them as head of development control - is no mean achievement," said Mr Bajaria. "We all congratulate John for his dedication, his capability, and the way he has engaged with the public and Authority members."

John, 59, said: "I originally intended to stay only two years, but the National Park gets into your blood. It’s a wonderful place to work."

Among the most significant plans dealt with since he became head of development control was the modernisation of Bakewell between 1996 and 2000, which transferred the old livestock market from the town centre, replacing it with shops, parking and homes that blended with traditional styles.

He has also been involved with several high-profile quarry cases, including Lees Cross and Endcliffe quarries on historic Stanton Moor where the National Park Authority opposed their re-activation and environmental protestors have been encamped for five years.

And lately, he said, more and more emphasis has been on affordable housing for local people, and how the planners can encourage developers while protecting the National Park.

"We strive to balance the needs of the local community with our statutory purpose to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area," he said. "Our main job is to guide development to keep the National Park a special place, while ensuring the community can thrive."

John's own particular community, in Eyam, has benefited greatly from his spare-time activities as former chairman of the Mechanics Institute for 20 years, involvement with the Sports Association and writer of the annual village pantomime. He is married with two grown-up children.

This is an archived press release

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