Letter from Tony Peachey to PCNPA

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(Published with his given permission)

Dear Mr Jones,

Just what is going on, have you and your team completely lost the plot?

I wrote to you in polite terms on the 18th February adding my concern to that felt by all in Solva in connection with your belief that ‘there is no reason why charging using Pay and Display would not be appropriate in Solva!  Your reply stated that the Car Park management would remain in 2015 as in 2014, apart from some small detail to be agreed.

Now I find that you have completely changed the rules to suit your own organisation’s financial gain and purposes, flying in the face of all local knowledge and representation. Funny this, I thought it was supposed to be you and your team that are in post to represent us!

Maybe you should revisit your website and the principles you so clearly state as at the heart of your Management Plan 2015-2019.

Your lead image is a couple here in Solva looking out to sea over St Elvis Rock. I have to ask if there a reason why you chose this place to represent The Park and NPA interests in this grand plan, when in practice it appears that you just do not represent or are even interested in the views of the residents here, in the place you use to characterise the special nature of this coastline and ‘Your Park’

Ironic, yes, but very irritating. It almost beggars belief in the nerve of how your organisation behaves at present

Worse are the following statements of your role and activities, all taken from this grand policy document

Lead statement

The Pembrokeshire National Park is a special place and needs careful management to look after it for everyone to enjoy, now and in the future. At the Park Authority we are charged with keeping the Park special   (Not by replacing the local ambassador who greets and advises those visitors who gain access to the Park in Solva with a ticket machine you don’t!)

Para 1.2.1.2

The NPA has a duty to try and improve the social and economic wellbeing of the National Park Communities  (Not by taking away the guide who helps advise people where to go to enjoy walks, to stay, where to eat, where to shop, opening hours, help for the infirm and disabled, together with the resulting income to local traders who rely almost completely on tourism for their livelihoods, you don’t)

Heading 2

A park for people (only the one sided view you seem to hold of who people are, does local employment come into this, are the jobs at stake here, people, local people who live in this Park community, it would seem not)

Para 2.4.2

The NPA has a duty to support the social and economic wellbeing of Park Communities

(well in its flagship of Solva it doesn’t, despite the work and effort put in by Solva councillors, the clerk, and those in the front line welcoming and assisting visitors to the Park)

Park Authority Staff and Members.

Employees of the NPA work to a committee of 18 National Park Authority members, 12 of whom are selected from the elected councillors of the PCC.

(It is odd that these are our democratically elected members who are there to serve the interests of the ratepayers and local businesses. So I have to ask on what basis does your organisation’s decision making just disregard the views and knowledge of those in the local community. Does the Your Park live in a democracy, is it not one third funded by the PCC to which we all contribute or is it just an organisation which manages to its own agenda, not listening or influenced, let alone guided, by those with knowledge on the ground and in the communities you are paid to serve)

So I repeat, have you and your officers lost the plot. To all of us in Solva it certainly seems so. I really don’t think you can have been well briefed on the case and the maths fully and without some understandable but blinkered short-term budget blindness. The outcome of this series of misplaced decisions that has now boxed you and your team into a corner, will be

– loss of employment and not just to the car park attendants as you see them, ambassadors as we do, -lack of assistance to those who need it whether physical or for guidance,

-and this ‘special place’, a major attraction that delivers your claim to have a ‘special place’, becoming less special

-and over time a weakening economy and wellbeing

– an inherent anger at your organisation and its arrogance in the face of unanimous opposition and just disbelief here in the Solva community, you know, one of the ones you are pledged to support.

This small and I am sure to you seemingly insignificant issue is huge here, and it beggar’s belief that you are insisting in driving it through against all opposition.

Or may I just ask once more for you to accept that the locals here in Solva and our Community Council may just know their place and market, they may just have a worthwhile case, which even at this late stage is worth reviewing. It is after all what strong and successful management does when it is wrong and moves swiftly to say so and recover trust and support amongst those that you are seriously alienating

Please, for the sake of sanity, let alone real economics rather than short-term maths, reconsider

Yours sincerely

A C Peachey