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Broads National Park – a tourism boost or a pointless rebrand?

09:10 22 January 2015

Members at the Broads Authority will vote on a rebrand to Broads National Park tomorrow. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Members at the Broads Authority will vote on a rebrand to Broads National Park tomorrow. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

It is an issue which divides businesses, boat owners and politicians – should Norfolk and Suffolk Broads be called the Broads National Park?

Q+A with the Broads Authority over Broads rebrand

The chief executive of the Broads Authority, John Packman, has long held ambitions to rebrand the area in a bid to lure more visitors.

Members of the Broads Authority will make the decision tomorrow morning – a change which could take hold with immediate effect.

Yet if members do agree, it would remain a marketing exercise alone.

The government, despite objecting to the switch on legal grounds in 2008 and 2009, have now climbed down leaving the decision with the authority and its stakeholders.

Defra minister Lord de Mauley emphasised while the area is a member of the national park family, which includes the Lake District, the Peak District and the New Forest, he said “it is not legally a national park”.

The authority itself have said both its name and functions would remain the same and access to the water would not change.

But still there is suspicion, especially in the navigation community, about the plans.

If they approve the recommendation to adopt the term, members will also decide whether to resolve not to pursue the ambition in the Broads Plan for the area to become a national park in law.

Some worry if the name is ever enshrined in law, and the authority is therefore forced to adopt the Sandford Principle which says conservation is the priority, then navigation issues will be left vulnerable.

The Broads’ constitution states that equal weight must be given to the three interests of conservation, recreation and navigation.

Richard Card, chairman of the Norfolk and Suffolk Boating Association, said the organisation strongly opposes the status change.

He said: “The initial impression is that there would appear to be little advantage for private boaters in adopting the term Broads National Park.”

And the navigation committee said they “continue to have reservations about the legality and reputational implications” of adopting the Broads National Park name.

Some question how an authority could call themselves something they are not while others have revealed fears that even if there is no prospect of a legal challenge now, there may be one in the future.

The idea of change has, however, received wide support from district, city and county councils as well as organisations such as the Norfolk and Suffolk Wildlife Trusts.

About 79pc of these groups questioned supported the change, while results in the stakeholders survey showed groups such as private boat owners were less in favour of the switch.

The meeting is at the Broads Authority’s office on Thorpe Road at 10am.

Do you have a Broads story? Email the Broads reporter on rosa.mcmahon@archant.co.uk

17 comments

  • Broads National Park. Got a good ring to it. But I doubt anybody stood back and looked at its initials BNP - and pondered the political connotations?

    Report this comment

    Woodwose

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Imagine if the Sandford Principle did come into effect on The Broads. For this purpose, we will pick on Horning. To the East of Horning there is a bird nesting on the river bank, not far above the waterline. As the Sandford Principle requires that Conservation now takes precedence, that whole stretch of water is now closed due to wash from craft "upsetting" the bird. This is not just sailing craft or motor craft but ALL craft, including kayaks. Now, let's say there are four of this little feathered creatures friends, all taken up to new homes, the others are near Brundall, Stalham and Waveney River Centre. Hey presto, the majority of boaters will no longer be able to move far, effectively closing the waterways.

    Report this comment

    GaryCantley

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

  • BNP..........Mmmmm!!!

    Report this comment

    Christabel

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

  • Vikki Walker - Well said, the BA and Visit Norfolk should be putting more effort in to improving visitor facilities, improving boat and canoe, access including much needed slipways. Fighting for a broads barrier to protect fish stocks which would protect the £141m per year that anglers bring to the region (BA's own figures), with a significant percentage of that out of the normal tourist season. Improve those things and visitor numbers will increase, because more people will come back time and time again. National Park is the doorway to a restricted Broads, especially for those locals who use it out of season.

    Report this comment

    Duncan Holmes

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

  • Daisy Roots - Be careful what you wish for!! We already have restricted or removed access to 100's of acres of broads under the guise of conservation. If the National Park goes through, the various wildlife groups will have the Sandford Prinicple in their armour as well. I agree with conservation, I agree with protection, I agree with sustainability, but most of all I want to enjoy the beautiful area I have lived all my life in, not be restricted from more and more of it. The Broads are The Broads, simple as.

    Report this comment

    Duncan Holmes

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

  • As the manager of an historic sailing yacht company here on these beautiful Norfolk Broads I would say that being a National Park would be a good thing from the tourism point of view. However, personally I have a few questions that come to mind. Are we seeing the bigger picture? Won't it cost a lot of money to do this! Isn't the BA always saying they don't have enough money to do some of the things they should be doing along the Broads as it is? Where will the money come from? Shouldn't we be making the Broads amenities better so when our visitors come they will enjoy their visit for many reasons, will want to come back and twill tell their friends they really should visit too? Are we forgetting this is a man made habitat and if the conservation part of the National Parks was to really come into effect, the 'exception' reversed say, then eventually the waterways wouldn't exist as they do now? It was made for working purposes way back and still is in many ways, wouldn't in time this change?. Would it have an affect on the businesses who trade on the Norfolk Broads in time? Maybe I've missed something but if we become a National Park wouldn't it have a determental affect in the end however distant in the future when things can't be changed? As a National Park will 'the Broads' change? Shouldn't we wait until we get things set up better to accept more visitors, like nice showerstoilet facilities, nice waterside shops, pub etc and then go for being a National Park 'with exception'? Just my personal take on things....

    Report this comment

    Vikki Walker

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

  • Why would a cash strapped authority wish to be involved in something that is simply not within it's brief? Why say that the majority of people think this plan is good when the reverse is true? Why do it at all??? It is not the job of the Authority to be involved in tourism, It is not the job of the authority to 'Brand Manage' The job of the authority is to safeguard, manage and protect the area while ensuring people can enjoy the area. The argument over the status of the Broads has long been discussed and has long been settled. It is simply NOT A NATIONAL PARK!!!!!!

    Report this comment

    Nick

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

  • In a surprise move, it has emerged that A Fish Called Eddie - the southern Broads’ statue of a leaping pike – is to be re-branded as a Broads National Pike. The move follows an “ofishal” consultation process, in addition to a survey of over 1,600 boat owners, residents and visitors. Brand consultants found that, once the opinions of the residents and boat owners were removed from the figures, 80% of the remainder were in favour of the re-branding. Although Eddie is a member of the Pike family, he is not technically a National Pike. But that doesn’t matter much these days, as Eddie explained – “National Pikes are a globally-recognised brand. By calling myself one, I stand to gain thousands more followers on Twitter – so who cares whether or not it’s true?” Eddie’s brand manager, Dr John Pikeman agreed – “Eddie isn’t actually saying that he is a National Pike – he’s just calling himself one. See?” Critics have pointed out that if Eddie actually becomes a National Pike, then his right to swim throughout the Broads may be curtailed in the event of an outbreak of rare weeds or protected newts. But Eddie has confirmed that, if he is allowed to call himself a National Pike then he will give up his long-held aspiration of becoming one. Eddie is no stranger to re-branding, having started life as a 28lb stuffed pike hanging on the wall of the Waveney Inn in 1948, before becoming a galvanised steel statue of a leaping pike as part of a millennium sculpture trail in 2001 and regenerating again as a kind of online virtual fish in 2010

    Eddie_national_pike_blog

    Report this comment

    A Fish Eddie

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

  • With effect from today I am now CEO of the BA. I don't actually have a mandate to do so but what the hell, I've done it anyway.

    Report this comment

    peter waller

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

  • It isn't a national park, that really should be the end of it. Perhaps I should rebrand myself as the Chief Executive of The Broads Authority, even though I'm not.

    Report this comment

    peter waller

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

  • If it is not legally a National Park. It should not be called one. Admittedly to call it a National Park may help with marketing and tourism. But this will only be because visitors will think it is a proper National Park. When they find it isn't, this will reflect on the other National Parks. Areas that have fought long and hard for their Park status

    Report this comment

    Lover of Norfolk

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

  • The broads are not an " amenity" Mundy Ellis, they are a part of the history and landscape of Norfolk, not something for the directors and share holders of boat companies to exploit for far too low fees. They have had it their own way for far too long.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

  • Surprising as it may seem to the EDP reporters in the pockets of their advertisers, the point of National Parks is not all about tourism but about protecting special parts of Britain The aims are clearly enshrined in law and are to conserve enhance and preserve the natural beauty wildlife and cultural heritage. And also to promote the opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of these special qualities of National Parks by the public. Now if over promoting Hoseasons comes first in that I will eat my hat, so in that respect a National Park status would be a good thing, because commercial interests have defiled and almost destroyed the Broads in the past. There is opportunity for a different sort of tourism -which may be a curate's egg, because at least at present the tourism is mostly away from where broads villagers actually live.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

  • Here we go again. One man's ambition again flying in the face of reality. In addition the statement that "About 79pc of these groups questioned supported the change" is not quite accurate. The Broads are famous for being the Broads and NOT a national park perhaps the good doctor should concentrate on his job not his ambitions for knighthood

    Report this comment

    Thirdmate

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

  • It's either a National park or it isn't and it clearly isn't. I can't call my beaten up old Ford a Rolls Royce in order to sell it as I would face the law under a charge misrepresentation. Yes it should become a National Park in my opinion, but until then it just 'The Broads'.

    Report this comment

    Twig Stevens

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

  • If, as the Broads Authority asserts, rebranding as a National Park would make no difference to its name or functions or “access to the water,” then it is a pointless expense. Far better spend those shiny thousands on improving the amenities for which the region is already known worldwide – its waterways. For example, by providing more moorings for visitors rather than getting rid of them, and (dare I say?) picking up after them rather than turning them into unwilling fly-tippers because all the rubbish bins have been removed. Or would that be just too practical?

    Report this comment

    Mundy Ellis

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

  • why change something that is fine leave as it is always known as the norfolk broads lived in area all my life people ask where i live when i say norfolk broads area they know

    Report this comment

    Pauline Gant

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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