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Anger at Cumbrian zip wire rejection

The owner of Honister Slate Mine is to appeal after plans for a mile-long zip wire were rejected.

Jan Wilkinson photo
Jan Wilkinson

Jan Wilkinson said her only options were to shut the mine or appeal the Lake District National Park Authority’s decision to reject her proposals.

She argued that the zip wire was needed to generate extra income to support the slate side of the business, after authority members voted against the plans seven to four, citing concerns about its impact on the surrounding landscape.

Jonathan Denby, president of the Lakes Hospitality Association, said the decision to reject the plans was “shocking.”

“The Lake District is not a museum,” he said. “We should be thinking of tomorrow’s younger visitors, not the day before yesterday’s.”

Mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington – a strong supporter of the plans – reportedly resigned as vice-president of Friends of the Lake District, in protest, shortly after the decision was taken.

Sir Chris addressed the development control committee meeting, along with Ms Wilkinson and Nigel Wilkinson of Windermere Lake Cruises.

Speaking afterwards, he said he was disappointed for everyone at the mine.

“The zip wire would have been something that would have given people a lot of enjoyment and excitement and would have been good for the Lake District as a whole,” he said.

The slate mine wanted permission to run the zip wire from Fleetwith Pike on an 18-month trial basis.

Officers at the LDNPA had recommended the committee give approval to the development with certain conditions, but, after hearing arguments for and against, members voted against.

Speakers against included the Friends of the Lake District.

The mine had hoped to test attitudes towards zip wires in open countryside by winning temporary planning permission for a year and then commissioning surveys to properly test people’s reactions to the development in the landscape.

A spokesman for the Friends of the Lake District said they were pleased the authority members agreed the scale was inappropriate and the fell should remain free from ‘man-made developments.’

“The decision reaffirms the previous refusal, recognising that recreational activities reliant on man-made infrastructure and harmful to the landscape should not be allowed in sensitive locations,” he said.

“Zip-wires and GoApe tree assault courses are best located in forest settings as they are in other parts of the UK.”

Ms Wilkinson said she would continue to fight for the zip wire, adding:“We have no option, really."

Have your say

PaulM - yes I visit the area regularly thanks. I knew the area before the slate mine attraction opened and the roads were much easier to use, the mine as it is attracts a large number of visitors, of they can't survive on the numbers they have now a *temporary* zip wire won't make a bit of difference to them.

Derek, both were valid points you raised.

Posted by me on 15 January 2013 at 18:42

... Although by letting through the petty sarcastic comments the moderator has shown their bias in this matter, I had thought newspapers were impartial. When you starting weighting articles towards a certain viewpoint you've stopped reporting the news and starting pushing your own agenda, the same applies to moderating comments. When you allow sarcastic petty remarks through then you allow people to make attacks on others which is poor.

Posted by Me on 15 January 2013 at 15:47

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