PROPOSALS are advancing to turn the Malvern Hills into a huge national park, giving the area better protection for its green spaces.

The proposals, put forward by Malvern Worldwide and submitted to parliament by Dr Bruce Osborne, Cora Weaver and their colleagues, are for a national park extending from the B4214 (Ledbury to Tenbury) in the west, the River Severn in the east, the A4117/A456 Tenbury Wells to Bewdley in the north and the A417, M50 and A38 Ledbury to Tewkesbury on its southern boundary.

It equates to about 700 square kilometres and is about the size of the Exmoor and New Forest National Parks

In the submission to parliament, it says: “The areas immediately surrounding the Malvern Hills and commons are now under intense pressure from urbanisation and the protection of the hills themselves under threat of change.

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“Now, at a time of increasing public concern over environmental issues, urbanisation and conservation of the countryside, it is considered the time to reconsider the future conservation of the Malvern Hills together with the surrounding region. It is therefore proposed that UK National Park status should be applied.

“The designated region would also include much of the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark area in addition to the Malvern Hills and commons, which are already and would remain under present day protected governance.”

The plans, if given the green-light, would involve three stages.

Stage one would be identifying the land in question, stage two would involve identifying the organisations to be involved in managing the national park, while stage three would be a consultation with local and national bodies to work out the best way to proceed.

At this stage, a national park headquarters and visitors centre, likely to be in Great Malvern, possibly in The Grange, would need to be identified.

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Eight gateway towns would also be identified, these are Bewdley, Stourport, Droitwich, Upton Upon Severn, Tewkesbury, Ledbury, Bromyard and Tenbury Wells.

These towns would include the relevant tourist industry such as hotels and hostels.

The plans, according to the proposal, would allow the green land in and around Malvern to be protected by legislation from “unnecessary” development, meaning fewer houses would be built on it.

The document continues: "A National Park offers regional blanket protection against inappropriate development.

"It will unify existing sites that are protected in a piecemeal way by a variety of different bodies and legislation, for example the National Trust, AONBs, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, private ownership, The Malvern Hills Trust.