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Monday, 01 September 2014

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Community another step closer to buying Cumbrian mountain

A group's battle to buy Blencathra has taken another step closer to victory as the council considers an application to make it a community asset.

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Iconic landscape: Blencathra has a new owner

The Friends of Blencathra are hoping to raise an estimated £1.75m to buy the mountain, known as Saddleback.

It has been put up for sale by Hugh Lowther, the eighth Earl of Lonsdale, to pay a £9m inheritance tax bill.

Strict legislation applies to what can be done with the mountain, but residents and walkers are still fearful it may be bought by an overseas investor.

Their campaign to raise the funds is gathering momentum with hundreds of donations already made.

However, the sale is by sealed bids and the friends group are concerned they may be outbid. As a result, the group has been looking into the process of getting Blencathra listed on the Community Asset Register.

A spokeswoman said: “This would mean that the community have to be given the opportunity to find the money to buy the mountain before a private sale can be arranged.

“This in effect means a further six months to arrange the sale and get any shortfall of funding in place to make a suitable offer.”

On Friday, Eden Council confirmed it has now received an application from the Friends of Blencathra Group to list Blencathra ‘Saddleback’ mountain in Cumbria as an Asset of Community Value.

The council’s director of corporate and legal services, Paul Foote, explained: “The council will now consider the application from the group to list the mountain as a community asset and ensure it meets the statutory requirements.

“We will also consult with the parish councils for Threlkeld and Mungrisedale.”

Mr Foote added: “The application will be considered by the council’s executive within the eight week period for determination.”

The friends group is urging the public to back their cause, and send an email confirming their support for the proposal to list it on the Asset Register.

Anyone wishing to give their support is asked to email debbie.cosgrove@friendsofblencathra.co.uk

For more information about a community’s right to bid for a community asset visit www.eden.gov.uk

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