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National Parks appeal to government over affordable housing

England's ten National Parks have, today, expressed their concern at Government proposals that put at risk their ability to achieve more affordable housing in National Parks.

In an unusual step, all ten, including Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors, have written to Communities Secretary of State, Eric Pickles MP asking for changes to the Government's proposals for reforming Section 106 agreements.

The Government consulted earlier this year on introducing a threshold in Section 106 agreements (used in planning) proposing a threshold of ten units below which local planning authorities would not be able to require the new housing to be affordable. In National Parks most sites for development tend to be small, infill opportunities and conversions for new affordable housing development. The introduction of any threshold, even one lower than ten units, in the words of the ten Chairs "risks seriously threatening our ability to facilitate affordable housing in National Parks for local needs".

Reforming Section 106 agreements might sound like a technical boring bit of planning, but in fact these changes go to the heart of how we can respond to the need for affordable housing in our rural communities. The National Park Authorities are committed to supporting living working communities.

This proposal simply won't help that in rural areas and we hope the Government will listen and exempt National Parks from the change.

– Jim Bailey, Chair of National Parks England and the North York Moors National Park Authority

Gary Verity: £10 million tourism fund 'not massive'

The chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire has welcomed news that £10 million pounds will be made available to bring cohesion to north of England tourism strategies, but says it is "not massive" in the bigger picture.

Gary Verity compared Scotland's smaller population and £60 million budget to that set aside for the whole of the north of England.

Today the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg criticised tourism across the north of the country despite Yorkshire's numbers showing an increase in visitors in the first six months of 2014.

Mr Verity told ITV Calendar that although his county was doing well, Nick Clegg could have a point about a better northern tourism strategy:

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Yorkshire enjoys best visitor figures since 2008

Yorkshire recorded its best visitor figures since 2008 this year and that is before Le Tour de France visitors are taken into account.

Yorkshire enjoys best visitor figures since 2008 Credit: Welcome to Yorkshire

Between January and June 2014, 607,000 people came to the county, up seven per cent on the same period in 2013 and moving back towards figures recorded before 2008.

Today Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg criticised tourism agencies in the North of England saying they were "falling over themselves saying so many different things."

The county proved most popular with over 70,000 American tourists, while Germany, France and Poland supplied more than 50,000 guests.

Yorkshire enjoys best visitor figures since 2008 Credit: Welcome to Yorkshire

Around 47,000 Australians spent an estimated £25 million, and despite not being in the top ten most frequent visitors, people from Hong Kong spent the second most amount of money.

Clegg: North tourism organisations 'falling over themselves'

The Deputy Prime Minister claims the North of England has no strategy for selling itself as a tourist destination.

Nick Clegg says there are too many organisations competing against each other for visitors - despite a rise in visitor numbers.

He is making £10 million available to help promote the area:

Region's resorts are beating economic downturn

A new report has revealed that the region's seaside towns are beating the squeeze on household incomes and continuing to support thousands of jobs along the east coast.

The team at Sheffield Hallam University which carried out the research says many resorts still face challenges, our reporter Adam Fowler has been to Skegness to hear about the lessons the town learned during the downturn.

Tourism campaign stepped up in Lincolnshire

Bus, newspaper and website advertising is to be used in a campaign to attract visitors to Skegness, Ingoldmells and the surrounding areas.

Tourism in the area is worth around five hundred million pounds a year and today the area's tourism board, Visit East Lincolnshire launched an ambitious programme to attract even more people to the mid-Lincolnshire coast:

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Yorkshire beaches praised in annual report

Over three quarters of Yorkshire's beaches have been praised for their top quality bathing water.

Yorkshire beaches praised

According to the Good beach guide from the Marine Conservation society, not a single Yorkshire beach failed in its 2014 report, but Bridlington, Withernsea and Hornsea didn't manage to retain their blue flag status.

Yorkshire beaches praised

Walking with Richard III tours set for York

Image of Richard III

City of York Council’s Archaeologist will be leading a series of walks

retracing Richard III’s steps around York, this Spring.

The walking tours are open to the public, and have been devised by

John Oxley FSA in response to public interest in the identification of the

monarch’s remains and as part of the collaborative Richard III: Rumour

and Reality project.

This series of walks were fully booked out last Autumn and, as planned,

are being run again.

Councillor Sonja Crisp, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and

Tourism, said: “In addition to his professional expertise, John is a

fantastic story teller and these walks should be essential for anyone

interested in the history, archaeology and culture of 15th and early 16th

century York.

Doncaster tourism boom

129% increase in visitor numbers to Cusworth Hall Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Tourism in Doncaster is bucking the national downward trend according to new figures released by Doncaster Council.

In Doncaster, overall visits to attractions across the borough were up 11% for the first 9 months of the 2013/14 financial year. Meanwhile the national picture looks quite different. The most recent figures from Visit England show the total visits to attractions are down 1% nationally.

Top performing attractions from April to December 2013 included the Yorkshire Wildlife Park - up 25%, Doncaster Minster - up 23% and Conisbrough Castle - up 25% until it closed for construction of the new visitor centre in August.

Doncaster Council's own Cusworth Hall also enjoyed a 129% increase in visitors after it became a free attraction for families to visit once again last April.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said: "Tourism is a key area for Doncaster in terms of jobs and growth. I am delighted to see visitor numbers continuing to increase as well as the borough's profile as a destination.

"The success of Doncaster's tourism industry is a true partnership between our fantastic attractions in the private sector - aided by investment, tourism, marketing and events support from Doncaster Council."

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