AN evaluation has been requested to be carried out to weigh up the pro's and con's of designating the Cotswolds as a national park.

Cotswold District Council members unanimously agreed a cross-party motion at their annual meeting on Tuesday, May 15 and requested officers carry out an evaluation of the potential benefits and disadvantages.

Working with counterparts from other local authorities that would fall within the footprint of a Cotswolds National Park, the council will aim to gain a better understanding of the implications for residents, including potential increases in housing costs.

Following the vote Cllr Joe Harris of the Liberal Democrats said: “We know that local MPs have generated interest in this issue and it is important that we now gain a full understanding of all of the issues involved in designating a new National Park area.

"While it is clear that there are benefits for the tourism sector, we are concerned about the possible impact on future affordable housing provision, and local responsibility for planning matters.

"Setting up this evaluation with other affected authorities means that we should be well placed to respond to any possible consultation process and – hopefully – it will provide us with a significant body of evidence to inform our views."

Cllr Stephen Hirst of the Conservatives added: "About 80% of the district comprises areas of outstanding natural beauty so there is already a good level of protection afforded to our landscape and communities.

"However, National Park designation is a significant step further and raises the prospect of key decision making powers being taken away from democratically elected councillors working on behalf of local residents."