The call for the Cotswolds to be given national park status has been backed by a leading regional hospitality specialist.
Peter Brunt, hotels director at commercial property specialist Colliers International, who has sold three dozen pubs, bars and restaurants across the region in recent years, says national park status would be the ‘crowning glory’ for the region.
“The Cotswolds are already a national treasure – so why not a national park?” he said.
Gloucestershire MP David Drew, Labour MP for Stroud and shadow minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, recently called for the Cotswolds to be added to the 15 existing national parks in the UK. If his campaign is successful, it would give the Cotswolds the same status as renowned locations such as the Lake District, Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons.
The Cotswolds region, which is already designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, was recently identified as the UK’s leading property hotspot by the Office for National Statistics. Average prices in the Cotswolds have risen by 16.2 per cent in the 12 months to July to £384,745.
Peter Brunt said: “The increasing wealth of the area is underscored by rising house prices. This gives rise to lots of people with the money to spend on eating out, and this impacts on value.
“The Cotswolds are benefitting from extraordinary national and international factors – but the backdrop to the current boom is our own history, heritage and location. The Cotswolds deserve to achieve the crowning glory of national park – if not national treasure – status.”
He added that being awarded national park status could create fresh impetus for businesses across the region – not just those in the Cotswolds’ renowned hospitality sector, which defied the recent recession.
“While other sectors are keeping one eye on Brexit and pulling in their horns in case of any visitor-backlash, the Cotswolds are going from strength to strength,” he said.
“Crucially, it’s not just a marketing vision of a picture postcard Heart of England. It boasts some top-performing retail centres such as Bath and Cheltenham, and also the Bicester Village designer outlet. These places bring in the tourist dollars and yen, and help to sustain lifestyle expectations which are envied across the country.”