Petition launched against Peak Park

A PETITION has been launched by a Peak District resident calling for an investigation into the national park authority.

Professor Mark Everard has launched the petition calling on the Secretary of State to establish an independent and open inquiry into what he calls ‘widespread maladministration’ within the Peak District National Park Authority.

Prof Everard, who lives in the Hope Valley, also claims that the authority has a lack of accountability, which he finds frustrating.

“We went to the local ombudsman to complain,” he explained.

“They said they did not have the power to deal with it.”

The professor is not the first person to express concern over the way the authority it run – action group Peak Park Watch was set up by residents who were unhappy with its governance.

Prof Everard said: “The petition is an opportunity for people to express their frustration.”

A spokesman for the Peak District National Park Authority said: “The authority is monitored annually by internal and external auditors and has a National Park Authority Performance Assessment inspection every five years.

“In addition decisions we make can be investigated by relevant bodies including the local government ombudsman.

“The record of ombudsman decisions ruling in our favour is in line with those of most planning authorities across the country and other national park authorities.”

The authority claims that in the three financial years from 2008 to 2011 a total of ten complaints were made to the local government ombudsman about it and none were found to involve maladministration.

Details of all audit inspections, performance assessments and local government ombudsman decisions are discussed by members of the authority at public meetings and are published on our website, www.peakdistrict.gov.uk.

In order for the petition to be discussed in the House of Commons it needs to receive 100,000 signatures by the time it closes on April 13 next year.

To view the petition, people can visit epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/32564