National park residents say what they think about the Peak District

This is an archived press release

Friday 26 July 2013

The sense of peace and tranquillity in the Peak District National Park is more important to residents now than in 2009.

In a survey of residents organised by the Peak District National Park Authority, 71 per cent said that peace and tranquillity helps make the national park a special place, ranking it third, behind the landscape (top answer, 98 per cent) and distinctive villages (ranked second, 83 per cent).

This compares to 48 per cent in 2009, when peace and tranquillity ranked sixth. The ranking of landscape (top answer, 95 per cent in 2009) and distinctive villages (second, 68 per cent in 2009) remain the same.

It follows an evaluation of the results of a residents' survey carried out in October last year among 4,700 randomly selected households.

Key areas of interest are:

  • Most residents regard tourism as beneficial to the area.
  • More residents are satisfied with the planning process than before.
  • Peak District National Park residents are keen volunteers, 62 per cent – much higher than
  • the national average of 23 per cent.

Jim Dixon, chief executive of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: "This research provides strong evidence of popular support for our conservation priorities and our role in diversifying and enhancing the natural landscape.

"The results give us some clear messages about areas where residents are happy with services and things they would like us to do more of. We will use the information they have given as we develop our future plans. This will make us better at listening and responding to the issues that matter to them.

"We are always keen to hear views about improving ways of working with local people and I would like to thank the residents who responded to our survey."

The Authority is continually working to improve how it communicates the planning process and its decisions. Improvements have been made to the planning pages on the website, a form has been introduced to encourage people to provide accurate information for pre-application advice and officers have attended community meetings to explain the planning process and local decisions.

Other findings from the residents survey include: 

  • 80 per cent of residents think that local businesses and employment are stimulated by visitors spending in the local economy.
  • 68 per cent of the residents felt positive about the Authority's planning process, but only 28 per cent had confidence in the planning decision-making process and 52 per cent claimed to have no confidence in the decision-making process.
  • 86 per cent of residents surveyed who had submitted a planning application had permission granted, and only 9 per cent were refused.
  • 40 per cent of residents had used the planning pages on the Authority's website and 46 per cent had found them useful.
  • 90 per cent of residents surveyed have an internet connection at home.
  • 78 per cent of residents reported using public transport, 50 per cent said they would like on-line access to public transport information and 34 per cent said they would prefer printed information.
  • 62 per cent of people taking part in the survey do voluntary work within the community and results indicate more people, especially younger residents, are interested in volunteering to benefit the national park.
  • 94 per cent of residents enjoy walking in the national park, and 37 per cent (one in three) go cycling.
  • 83 per cent of residents feel that the national park's 'specialness' comes from the distinctive character and attractiveness of its villages.
  • 62 per cent felt that local customs and traditions were important in helping define its character.

Low returns of the survey from people in the 16 to 24 years age bracket are to be addressed. Members of the Authority's audit, resources and performance committee approved plans to engage with young people through the Peak District National Park Youth Forum – an initiative developed through the Learning and Discovery service.

The use of social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, to communicate with residents, particularly younger people, is also to be developed.

The full survey results can be seen at

This is an archived press release

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