AT face value, vast swathes of south Cumbria are worthy of national park status.

It does seem curious that the Cartmel Peninsula and Duddon Estuary did not qualify for Lake District National Park status when it came into being in 1951.

Subsequently, in the 70th anniversary of the legislation which paved the way for national parks, the Friends of the Lake District has lodged 'urgent' plans with Natural England.

This could result in a 60 square-mile extension of the reach of the national park authority and a six per cent increase in the park’s footprint, which was extended by 188 miles just three years ago. The Friends state there are “many communities” with “a pervading sense of unfinished business” and report a strong appetite for an extension at parish council level.

There will be, and needs to be, far broader public engagement to understand the risks as well as the opportunities. National park status hands down a labyrinth of red-tape which can snarl-up everything from simple domestic planning alterations to new tourism ventures and implications for agriculture. What would it do to house prices for those struggling to get on the ladder? How would it benefit Grange, Allithwaite, Penny Bridge, Foxfield, Kirkby, The Green and Kirksanton which would all be considered 'in the national park'.