A CUMBRIAN MP's campaign for more democratic national park authorities has prompted a parliamentary debate.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron secured the Westminster Hall debate next Wednesday (November 28) as part of his bid to bring about direct elections  to national park authority boards across the UK.

Mr Farron wants elected representatives to ensure they are accountable for the decisions they make, and prevent them riding roughshod over the opinions and priorities of local people.

Controversial decisions taken by the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) over The Glebe at Bowness and its Brockhole site, both on the shore of Windermere, have particularly highlighted local concerns. At Brockhole, visitors and environmental campaigners were left in tears after the LDNPA went ahead with the felling of a landmark 110-year-old monkey puzzle tree against vociferous public opposition. Other plans for the national park centre - including a wedding and performance venues and watersports centre - have also been opposed.

Mr Farron said the debate would enable him to put his case for democratic accountability to the Government.

 “I am delighted to have secured this debate, and we can now take a step towards giving local people a formal say over the management of national parks," said Mr Farron.

"I hope Defra ministers will agree that the huge significance of the national park to the lives and communities of people in South Lakes means they deserve a say in how it is run.

“It will be a fantastic chance to raise my concerns about the recent controversies over the plans for Brockhole, and these will provide an important reference point in the debate as I seek to ensure local people’s voices are heard when it comes to the national park.”