Broads National Park flag draws criticism... but it is selling well
- Credit: Archant
A new flag has caused a flutter amongst those opposed to the Broads being branded a national park.
The blue and white flag, which was recently made available to purchase by the Broads Authority, features the words Broads National Park alongside a dragonfly.
The authority's chief executive John Packman said national park merchandise proved popular and helped support the running of tourist information centres at Hoveton, Whitlingham Country Park and How Hill which between them serve around 250,000 visitors a year.
He said: 'We currently sell various items such as T-shirts and mugs. As a trial we have produced a limited number of Broads National Park burgees for boaters to purchase.
'Since publicising them last week we only have a few still available from our Yare House office on Thorpe Road in Norwich priced at £9.99 (or by post for £10.49).
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'Once these are sold we will consider having more produced so that more people can proudly display their support for our National Park.'
But images of the flag posted on social media drew negative comments from many users and spawned a number of memes.
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Mr Packman said: 'It is disappointing that some people do not grasp the considerable benefits of marketing the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads as the Broads National Park which we are legally entitled to do.'
On a discussion thread on the Facebook page Norfolk Broads News, Paul Howes said: 'Make one with 'Broads, Not a National Park' and I would buy it.'
Tom Gabriel posted: 'Trust me none of us are happy having the broads linked in anyway shape or form with a national park and we can never become a national park due to legislation which recognises our unique heritage.
'Also why would any one want to be ruled by an unelected unrepresentative quango with no accountability.'
Andy Grainger said he hoped it was 'fake news' while Ian Hathaway commented: 'It's NOT a national park.'
But not everyone was against the burgee.
Steve Maggie Tuck wrote: 'Cheque in post. I think they are a great idea. Lovely souvenir of a broadland holiday. Hope the rangers have a few on board to purchase.'
The argument against
Tony Bennett, who has been sailing on the Broads since 1980, said many people were opposed to the region being branded a national park.
He said: 'The national parks must adhere to the Sandford principle, placing the highest priority on conservation. While in some areas that is commendable, the Broads are not a naturally occurring feature of our landscape but rather they are man made and have to be maintained rather than conserved.
'Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the Broads Act created an organisation that must give equal precedence to the three areas of navigation, tourism and conservation. If the Sandford principle cannot be applied, the area cannot be deemed to be a national park.
'The reason this worries so many users of the Broads is that should the Broads become a national park, the Sandford principle would take precedence and our navigation would be seriously curtailed in favour of that principle.'