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Waveney MP hits out at Broads Authority

PUBLISHED: 10:51 09 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:28 06 July 2010

WAVENEY MP Bob Blizzard has called for the Broads Authority to be more accountable, claiming it is out of touch with its communities and has stifled development within the tourism industry.

WAVENEY MP Bob Blizzard has called for the Broads Authority to be more accountable, claiming it is out of touch with its communities and has stifled development within the tourism industry.

He joined the debate over the running of the Broads Authority a week after a government minister ruled out direct elections to the boards of England's national parks.

While Mr Blizzard said he did not agree with such elections, insisting they would be “a waste of time and money”, he felt MPs on the newly-formed Eastern Region Select Committee should be able to hold the Broads Authority to account.

He said: “On some issues it is out of touch and not meeting the needs of local communities. One example is tourism development, which is being stifled by ultra-restrictive planning policies that are preventing much-needed economic benefits that could accrue from attracting more people to stay and enjoy the Broads.”

Many of the Waveney area's key tourist areas are within the Broads Authority area and Mr Blizzard added: “My constituency is desig-nated in the Eastern region as a priority area for economic regener-ation. Expanding tourism is one way we are trying to do this and the Broads area in my constituency should be the magnet that we can use. Yet when quality tourist businesses wish to expand or upgrade their facilities to bring in more people and more spend, they are all too often rebuffed by the Broads Authority.”

Cally Smith, head of development and regeneration for the authority, said: “Our local planning policies are in accordance with national guidance and are part of a suite of policies and strategies which aim to support local businesses. We will always work constructively with local businesses and applicants to find a solution which is appropriate to the community as a whole.”

A Broads Authority spokesman revealed its planners were keen to work with the Broads Tourism Forum to promote a clearer understanding of planning policy through a special workshop.

She added that nine of the authority's 21 members had been voted on to local councils within its area.

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