COUNCIL bosses are hoping it will be “third time lucky” in the efforts to have Galloway designated as Scotland’s next national park.

Dumfries and Galloway councillors last week signed off on another consultation response to the Scottish Government where Galloway is being put forward as an ideal location to become the country’s third national park.

The council has supplied details to government agency NatureScot and has stated its case for Galloway numerous times in recent years.

Annandale South Councillor Sean Marshall is hopeful it will eventually lead to a positive outcome which could have a huge economic boost for the area, but he appeared frustrated over the lengthy process.

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Speaking at last week’s full council meeting, Councillor Marshall said: “How many consultations responses have we done now over the last few years?

“It is very important, and hopefully Galloway will be selected as a national park – but this seems to be going on for ages.

“How many times can you change your answer or responses?

“It’s nearly 20 years since Scotland’s first two national parks (were created).

“It looks like it’ll be another 20 years before a decision is taken.”

Simon Fieldhouse, council’s environment manager, said: “This will be our third consultation process in relation to the ongoing position under the Bute House agreement, so we are moving forward.”

The National: Galloway Forest ParkGalloway Forest Park (Image: Unsplash)

“And we have had previous engagement with Galloway National Park Association locally. The council put in a notice that we are generally supportive of the principle and engaging with the Scottish Government when the time is right about the framework, the model, and the opportunities.”

Councillor Marshall responded: “Third time lucky, Simon?”

The Galloway National Park Association previously produced a report last year which claimed that national park status could add up to 500,000 new visits a year to the region, boosting the local economy by up to £60 million and creating as many as 1,400 jobs.

As part of the consultation led by NatureScot, Dumfries and Galloway Council officers were asked to provide answers to 16 questions centred around reasons for designating national park status. These will then be assessed and fed back to the Scottish Government.

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However, Dee and Glenkens Councillor Dougie Campbell argued that some key questions were left out.

He said: “It leaves behind people. People make national parks.

“I think there’s a lack of opportunity in the criterion for applicants to reflect on the socio-economic factors of rural communities on housing, employment, education, and public transport.

“I think there needs to be a balance when it comes to choosing successful applications to be a national park. There has to be a focus on people, and I think that’s lacking in this.”

Council officers will submit this third national park consultation response before the deadline of August 3.