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Friday, 19 December 2014

Zip wire distraction like naked ‘Dolly Parton on M6’

PLANNERS have thrown out a controversial scheme to install a zip wire through a Lake District valley.

The proposed structure, at Honister Slate Mine, would have become the longest of its kind in the northern hemisphere.

The Lake District National Park Authority’s development control committee claimed the attraction would prove too noisy for the Borrowdale valley – despite hearing it could create four full-time jobs.

But the committee went on to approve the national park authority’s own application for a high ropes course and three zip wires at its Lake District Visitor Centre, near Windermere, during the same meeting.

The course, at Brockhole, will be sited across a wildflower meadow between an historic garden designed by Thomas Mawson and the shoreline of Windermere.

The committee, which met at the LDNPA headquarters in Kendal, heard Honister Slate Mine’s 1,200-metre zip wire would carry visitors from the top of Black Star to the centre’s car park.

Member Vivienne Rees told the committee: “You can’t get away from the sound of people expressing excitement and fear in a noisy way.

“This would impact on the peace and tranquility of others enjoying the freedom of the Lake District and I therefore can’t support it.”

Another member, Norman Clarkson, added: “It would prove a distraction in this valley much like Dolly Parton taking her clothes off in the middle of the M6.”

The zip wire would have been accessed from the slate mine’s popular Via Ferrata – a former miners’ pass across the crag of Black Star using iron rings and ladders.

The committee was told it would act as a method of diversification for the business following a prolonged dip in the sales of slate aggregates.

The application attracted objections from 255 individuals as well as from Buttermere and Borrowdale parish councils.

But it also drew 451 letters of support and a petition signed by 11,500 people.

Renowned climber and Lake District resident Sir Chris Bonnington spoke in favour of the scheme despite being vice-president of Friends of the Lake District – an organisation which objected to the plan.

He said: “This is an exciting new way of giving a sense of adventure to the young.

“It’s also a way of adapting an area that has always been an industrial environment.”

In an impassioned speech, development control committee member Bill Jefferson deplored his colleagues’ views – declaring them “polarised”.

He said: “Do we want to kill the Lake District dead and preside over a mausoleum where no one is allowed to shout and enjoy themselves?

“The Lake District is alive and we want to keep it alive – not fossilize it for the privileged few.”

The committee went on to refuse the application by seven votes to five.

Honister Slate Mine owner Jan Wilkinson said it was a second nail in the coffin for Honister – putting the jobs of her 30 existing staff at risk.

Ms Wilkinson, who took over the running of England’s only working slate mine last year following the death of her partner Mark Weir, told the Evening Mail: “The Via Ferrata deviation was the jewel in our crown but we are being forced to close that in November. Now they have refused the zip wire.

“It’s appalling that decisions are made based on policies written in the 1950s when we are in 2011.”

Have your say

The rugby union had 57 of them.
The lake district planning committee obviously has it's share!

Posted by norman on 13 September 2011 at 04:39

Well said Flappy and Co.

Unbelievable.

Posted by Barra Bill on 9 September 2011 at 14:36

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