THE New Forest National Park was officially born on Tuesday - and planning rules immediately came into force on the Southern side of the A36 than on the Romsey side.

And that, councillors believe, is set to be a recipe for confusion.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced March 1st would be the official date of birth of the National Park.

The day was marked by the launch of a new leaflet which outlines just how planning regulations will change.

There will be tighter controls inside the new Park boundary, but outside it, countryside which was once protected as part of the New Forest Heritage Area is set to lose some of that protection.

Main changes inside the boundary: - House extensions without planning permission cut from 70 to 50 cubic metres or 10 per cent of volume. - External cladding now needs permission. - Garden buildings and swimming pool enclosures above 10 cubic metres more likely to need permission. - Roof alterations will always need planning permission. - Satellite dishes on a wall or roof will need permission if it fronts a road or is more than 15 metres high. - New regulations for agricultural, forestry, telecommunications, school, college, university and hospital developments.

When planning applications are submitted, they are first looked at by parish councils and then by the district or borough councils - Test Valley, New Forest and Salisbury until April next year.

Then, applications for properties inside the Park will be decided by the New Forest National Park Authority.

And with Wellow split through the middle by a park boundary, which runs along its stretch of the A36, parish council chairman Veronica Perry said she did fear a measure of confusion.

"It would have been a lot easier if they had done what we fought for and included the whole parish in the National Park.

"But it is going to make life a bit difficult when we have to tell people that if they are on one side of the road one set of regulations applies while it is different on the other side," she said.

Wellow's Test Valley Borough Councillor Tony Gentle revealed that there had already been cross-border discussions between Test Valley and New Forest planning authorities in a bid to find the best solution.

"The aim is to make sure we still have a good planning system and I'm looking forward to helping where I can," he said.

But Richard Manley, chairman of the New Forest Commoners' Defence Association, which represents the owners of the Forest's grazing animals, said the Government had blundered by excluding areas which should have been inside the Park.

"The cold, hard fact is that it is an awful lot smaller than a lot of people, even its opponents, expected," he said.

And on the question of the Government's announcement that about £3.5 million per year is to be pumped into funding the Forest, he said: "Most of that will be lost in administration and bureaucracy and if money does come to the commoning side of things, it will be thousands rather than millions."

But at the very last meeting of the New Forest Committee - also on Tuesday - the Park Authority's interim chief executive Susan Carter said: "I see this as the beginning of a new era in the Forest's history, with added resources, focus and dynamism."