Dartmoor National Park Authority elects new chair

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Christow resident Pamela Woods has been elected chair of Dartmoor National Park Authority.
Her deputy, farmer Peter Harper, is also from the Teign Valley.

The appointments were made on Friday 14 June at the authority’s annual general meeting held at Parke, Bovey Tracey.

Ms Woods, a management consultant, has lived in the valley for almost three decades and served on the authority, in different guises, for five years.
She is the first woman to take the chair and succeeds Bill Hitchens who has stood down after 20 years’ membership, eight of those in the chair.

Ms Woods’ other roles have included membership of Christow Parish Council and the Christow Community Land Trust which, with partners including the authority, delivered an affordable housing project for the village.

‘It’s a critical time for national parks,’ said Ms Woods who cited climate change, pressure from recreational and other uses, affordable housing and funding among the emerging issues.
‘And of course we’ve the outcome of the forthcoming [national parks] review and what challenges that will present to us,’ she said.

Ms Woods acknowledged the likelihood of a changing agricultural scene post-Brexit and uncertainty about subsidies.
Calling on her professional experiences she said: ‘Trying to be optimistic, and putting the management consultant’s hat on, challenges sometimes brings opportunities as well.’

Describing her appointment as ‘a privilege’ Ms Woods told Friday’s meeting: ‘Members can rest assured that I shall do everything I can to sustain the excellent reputation and effectiveness of our authority.

‘Dartmoor National Park is an enormous asset for us.’

Other appointments made at the meeting included Philip Sanders as chair of the Development Control Committee, with Peter McInnes as deputy.

Naturalist Andrew Cooper was elected chair of both the Audit and Governance and Standards Committee.
Naomi Oakley was re-elected chair of the Park Management Working Panel.

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