|Nice view eh? Glenridding from Place Fell and map of proposed zip wire attraction.|
Please lend your support towards the petition in the following link folks to prevent a long zip wire attraction (four in total) that’s sought planning permission to be built in Glenridding, Lake District National Park.
Have a good read on the website to what’s been proposed and the background for and against the attraction. Some considerable conflicts of interest going on, and the National Park Authority’s handling of this case leaves a lot to be desired to say the least.
My own personal thoughts are this is a bad idea. Unsuitable on so many levels for the area. Hence I’ve drummed up photos here on this blog to help bring some context to the proposals.
A year or so ago, the Honister Slate Mine in Borrowdale applied to construct a similar attraction. In truth I was indifferent to the whole idea. It’s an industrial site, noisy, receives lots of traffic etc and would’ve been positioned where an old industrial zip wire was many years ago. There was a great deal of debate and controversy over Honister’s application yet the National Park Authority turned it down. Sir Chris Bonnington famously resigned from his position as vice president of ‘Friends of the Lake District’ over their stance opposing the proposal. Arguably, it was a suitable site for such an attraction when push comes to shove and I don’t think it was as bad as some conservationists made out.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST?
However, the proposal by Lake District-based Tree Top Trek in Glenridding defies logic on so many levels, it’s surprising that the National Park Authority appear to be positive to it all.
It may not come as any surprise to some of you that “Adventure Capital” enthusiast and Park Chief Richard Leafe is extremely positive towards the idea of a zip wire attraction in Glenridding. The National Park Authority are set to gain financially probably forms part of the enthusiasm – more so considering the pressures all of our national parks are under thanks to government cutbacks. Even the park authority’s own report is against the proposal. Ironic really, given they turned down some would say a more suitable location for a zip wire attraction at the Honister Slate Mine previously.
There’s money to be made for the park authority in Glenridding under these proposals too. Initially if permission granted, and thereafter once the ride is open. There’s a hint of “conflict of interest” here. They own the land at Greenside Mines for example.
National parks were after all created for something else all together different from being “adventure” capitals.
The Environment Act 1995 revised the original legislation and set out two statutory purposes for National Parks in England and Wales:
Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage
Promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of National Parks by the Public
When National Parks carry out these purposes they also have the duty to:
Seek to foster the economic and social well being of local communities within the National Parks
THE LAKES ISN’T A MUSEUM, BUT NEITHER IS IT A MODERN DAY THEME PARK
|Route of the proposed zip wires.|
I’m a compromising kind of gentleman and always open-minded to change, but I do feel that this proposal at Glenridding is totally out of keeping with the area, infrastructure, quality of life (for locals and tourists of course) and aesthetically at the head of arguably the most beautiful and tranquil of waters in the Lake District National Park.
Four zip wires are proposed, buses will run from the village centre to Greenside Mines (a scheduled ancient monument) along not a road but the bridleway every 20-30 minutes. With riders zooming down the valley every 5-10 minutes.
Some may well argue that more and more people come to the Lake District to enjoy climbing, mountain biking etc – but this has been going on for years! And there’s nothing to prevent that continuing. So why the need for a zip wire in this location? The cost for youngsters or adults paying a guide to take them scrambling et al, would be competitive when compared to this short lived adrenaline rush of a ride.
And being outdoors enjoying the hills, crags and cliffs is arguably more beneficial for any one’s well-being, character building and appreciation for wonderful landscapes and nature than a zip wire ever could!!
The local infrastructure isn’t suitable, aesthetically and aurally it would go against the responsibilities of what national parks represent and of course were created for in the first place.
It’s worth pointing out that national parks are indeed not a “museum” as some folks like to point out and that’s very true of course. But neither are they theme parks.
I understand that it could be argued that this will contribute economically to Glenridding but do they know that for sure? It’s been revealed that Tree Top Treks boasts of creating full time employment is open to debate (zero hour contracts and more besides) and needless to say, many visitors to Glenridding go there to enjoy something else all together different. There’s regular weddings held in the local hotels for example.
I do feel this proposal is totally wrong. I’m not against zip wires of course, I’ve no doubt it would be fun to ride it! But this whole proposal doesn’t sit right with it’s location and the national park’s responsibility to the area. So I do hope you consider lending your support by signing the petition in the link at the top of this blogpost or HERE.