‘It does not legally exist’ - Signs advertising Broads National Park appear outside village

A sign outside Acle advertising the Broads National Park has been labelled 'misleading'. Picture: Su

A sign outside Acle advertising the Broads National Park has been labelled 'misleading'. Picture: Sue Hines. - Credit: Archant

Signs erected in a village on the edge of the Norfolk Broads for a national park have been labelled ‘false advertising’ for a place which does not legally exist.

The view of the Norfolk Broads from The Boathouse.

The view of the Norfolk Broads from The Boathouse. - Credit: Archant

The signs, bearing the words 'Broads National Park', were installed by the Broads Authority (BA) before Christmas outside Acle - but some residents have expressed concern it is another step toward an eventual bid to get the Broads legally recognised as a national park, a change in status that would oblige the BA to prioritise conservation over navigation and recreation.

The BA said the new name, approved in 2017, was for marketing purposes only, to attract tourists to the area, and that it would not detract from its responsibility to protect the interests of navigation.

But Sue Hines, who lives on the Broads, has said the sign was "erected for an area which does not legally exist".

"It is surely wrong to be blatantly misleading the public. How much further will this travesty of the truth continue?" she said.

In a letter to the leader of Broadland District Council (BDC), she writes: "I would be interested to learn how, if Acle is now within a National Park, albeit mythical, BDC feels this will affect local issues such as planning, council tax and house prices in the village."

Acle, outside the Broads, comes under the authority of Broadland District Council, not the Broads Authority.

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A Broads Authority spokesperson said: "Signs with the wording Broads National Park are being installed at key sites to increase awareness and promote the area's special qualities.

"They are not intended to mark or alter the precise boundaries of the Broads Authority's executive area.

"Iconic Broads locations have been chosen where the Broads is an integral part of a town or village, and where a positive response has been given by the parish council.

"The Broads Authority is legally entitled and privileged to be able to promote the area as a National Park and there are considerable benefits in the Broads being part of the international family of National Parks," the authority said.

Acle Parish Council has said it welcomes the signs.

On social media one person commented: "It is false advertising and therefore wrong."