The Chilterns Conservation Board has revealed its new planner who wants the opportunity to transform the Area of Natural Beauty (AONB) into a National Park.

Dr Matt Thomson joins the board from his role as the Head of Land Use and Planning at CPRE, the countryside charity, where he has overseen a push for national planning policy to recognise the value of countryside and rural communities.

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He said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the Chilterns Conservation Board as their planner at such a pivotal time, with immense development pressure, but also the opportunity to transform the AONB into a National Park, and at a time of renewed appreciation of the value of landscapes and natural places for people’s physical and mental wellbeing.

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"The Chilterns first became my playground when my parents moved to Hertfordshire in the ‘80s, and I’ve lived at the foot of the Chilterns scarp for almost 25 years. With its proximity to London, and being criss-crossed by roads, railways and waterways, the Chilterns is an intensively used landscape, but in my view the most delightful in England.”