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New Chairman for New Forest National Park Authority announced

New Chairman for New Forest National Park Authority announced


Professor Gavin Parker has been elected as the new Chairman for the New Forest National Park Authority.

Gavin is Professor of Planning at the University of Reading where he has specialised in countryside planning and community engagement research. He has published widely on topics relevant to the work of the National Park.

Born and brought up in Salisbury and with family still in Downton he has a strong affinity with the Forest and brings a wealth of professional experience to his role, including working in the past for the Royal Town Planning Institute as a director and chairing a rural community council.

Gavin has been an Authority member since 2017. The Authority’s 22 members are the people with overall responsibility for making decisions. They are responsible for setting policies and priorities, ensuring efficient and effective use of resources and that money is well spent. It is their job to represent the interests of the National Park and to balance out any conflicting pressures.

Prof Gavin Parker head and shoulders image
Professor Gavin Parker

He said: ‘My main aim as Chairman is to continue to build the necessary networks and collaborative relations needed for the work and the aims of the National Park to flourish and to be promoted. The trust, faith and input from the wider public from within the Forest and beyond is also very important. So we will reach out and broker and make use of the goodwill that is out there to redouble our efforts to respond to some of the challenges stemming from the Glover Landscapes Review about how protected landscapes and their governance bodies need to respond to the climate and nature emergencies and help more people connect to nature.

‘As someone born and brought up in Salisbury with family in Downton on the northern edge of the Forest my interest and commitment to the wellbeing of communities in and around the Forest has always been close to my heart and I’ve been very privileged to be able to have a career that has embraced countryside planning for around 25 years.’

Gavin was elected at the Authority’s online AGM on 15 October. Acting Chairman Patrick Heneghan was confirmed as Deputy Chairman and Gavin also thanked and paid tribute to the work of out-going Chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre.

New members Alexis McEvoy, Stephen Tarling and Victoria Mander were also formally welcomed to the Board.

Find out more details about the members and their biographies.


Photo caption: Professor Gavin Parker, new Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority.

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