Row erupts over plans for 65-space car park beside Cumbrian fell

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View of Catbells across Derwent Water
View of Catbells across Derwent Water

A Lake District protection charity has criticised plans for a car park at the foot of one Cumbria's most iconic fells.

The Friends of the Lake District says the proposals for a 65-space facility at Cupboard Field, near Catbells, would bring more vehicles to the area - something that it says should be discouraged.

The proposals have been submitted to the Lake District National Park Authority by The Lingholm Private Trust Limited.

A design and access statement prepared by Penrith-based Lewis Surveying Associates on their behalf, says the application is driven by "the need to address traffic congestion and illegal parking at one of the Lake District’s most popular tourist destinations".

The application has been supported by Borrowdale parish council, which says that a three-year pilot project has been successful.

A letter has been submitted by the council to the LDNPA's planning department.

It says: "The field in question provided safe off-road parking, keeping vehicles off the sides of the road and allowing space for flow of traffic around Gutherskill and Skelgill, the solution that has been in place temporarily for the last three years has been very well received by locals and visitors alike."

The letter continues: "Your own Northern Distinctive Area policy identifies the need for car parking at this location - 'The popularity of certain locations for car parking at the start of walks, for example near Catbells, results in congestion, verge-side erosion and demand for more parking facilities'.

"This application would clearly fit with and mitigate this identified need."

But Laura Fiske, planning officer for the Friends of the Lake District, says the charity has written to planners to raise objections to the application.

"We realise there is a long-standing issue with illegal parking in the area," she told the News & Star.

"We know that people are parking on grass verges, but we do not believe a permanent car park is a sustainable solution to the problem.

"The introduction of a 65-space car park is likely to bring more vehicles: it will just encourage more people to drive.

"It could mean that when it's full, people will park on the verges or they'll choose not to pay to park.

"I think the authority should look at more sustainable solutions, such as improving transport links from Keswick and encouraging cycling instead."

Pieter Barnard, lead officer - development manager at Cumbria County Council, said the authority had no objections to the proposed development.

He added: "It is however accepted that this application would increase the traffic demand on the local highway network."

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John   Wood , Carlisle Thursday, 20 April, 2017 at 7:59PM
Sadly one of those no-win situations, parking is a great problem for those wanting to walk on the west side of Derwentwater and enjoy the lake, a car park is probably for the best although might just encourage even more visitors. Anyway, don't the hoteliers and business people want more visitors? Parking is a problem in many places in the Lake District and a major obstacle to a good day out or holiday.
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Thomas   Armstrong , wigton Thursday, 20 April, 2017 at 4:58PM
They should be called, Not Friends of the Lakedistrict, they would rather see cars parked up the roadside on dangerouse coeners, they want the place to be a museum soley for themselves.
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