PLANS for redevelopment of a quarry have reignited public fears the Lake District is being turned into a theme park.

Since quarry operator Burlington Stone made their adventure park plans for the quarry public on their website, more than 30,000 people have signed an online petition opposing the plans for Elterwater.

Described as an adventure tourism experience, the plans are to involve a high ropes course, zip wire, ‘alpine coaster’, car-parking for at least 200 cars and an interpretation facility.

Friends of the Lake District is opposed to the proposal.

Lorayne Wall from the Friends said: “Many of our members and supporters have been in touch with us directly and, without exception, they are against this proposal and share the concern that this proposal shows the risk remains very real.

“We must therefore act again to ensure the Lake District is treated in line with the Sandford Principle, which requires that when there is conflict between conservation and public enjoyment in National Parks, then conservation should take priority”.

The main concerns among those against the plans are the traffic and a theme-park type attraction in a rural location near a small village.

A low level of extraction and processing currently continues at Elterwater Quarry but the owners plan to scale back operations, and they have partnered with Zip World who run similar attractions in north Wales (crucially, outside of Snowdonia National Park).

Lorayne added: “While removing the currently relatively low levels of quarry traffic from the roads, this proposal would see a huge rise in private cars and potentially coaches passing through the village to access the site.

“Local businesses in the valley already have to bring in staff from distant towns due to a lack of a local workforce, so this would add further to the traffic generated by the development.”

A spokesperson from Burlington Stone said: “A planning application has not been submitted and exploratory work has focused on the creation of a heritage-based amenity promoting the history of the slate industry and the natural geology of the Lake District.

“Discussions have focused on vitally important topics including sustainable transport solutions, a significant reduction in quarry traffic, ecology, bio-diversity, housing and employment.

“Stakeholder engagement to date has been both positive and reassuring and we continue to listen to the aspirations of numerous interest groups.”

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