|Illustration of the zip wire proposals in Glenridding.
A few weeks ago, the Lake District National Park Chief, Richard Leafe and Treetop Trek owner Mike Turner attended a parish meet in Glenridding to discuss the proposals for a zip wire attraction in the area. I’m thrilled to reveal that as a consequence of the gathering, petitions and more has lead to the plans being dropped.
Mike Turner stated that if the locals overwhelmingly voted against the attraction, he’d drop all proposals and seek an alternative location in the national park. You can read more about the plans and initial petition HERE.
A parish vote was held and thankfully the vast majority chose to favour the No Zip Here campaign.
Ironically, Mike Turner has come out of all this with a lot of credit and admiration for sticking to his word with regards to engaging with the locals listening to all their points of view and of course not proceeding with the initial proposals.
However, Richard Leafe has had his reputation further tarnished in the eyes of many who live and work in the national park. Not only was he keen to promote and support the zip wire attraction, but his continued ambition to make the Lake District National Park an “adventure capital” has brought into question for many people the direction he continues to seek for the future of the area.
I’ve personally found in recent years that significant numbers of people who live, work and visit the Lake District becoming more and more alienated from the park authority with regards to it’s role and responsibilities. From farmers, to guides to accommodation providers. All walks of life.
Alas, that’s for another whole debate. You can read updates from the campaign HERE and HERE.
What’s interesting is the response from a spokesman from the park authority on the zip wire proposals (below). It’s somewhat telling that Richard Leafe hasn’t personally put a statement out I feel. I’ve met Richard and he’s a really nice guy full of enthusiasm for his role, but I’m afraid to say that his idea of a national park differs markedly from my own.
So well done to all the locals who stood up to be counted against the attraction and a big thanks to all of you who visit here that have been in touch and enthusiastically spread the word on what was happening in Glenridding.
Below you can read statements from the national park authority and the No Zip Here campaign:
“This has been an unusual and complex potential planning application. Treetop Trek has listened to the community, taken on board the strength of feeling and announced that they no longer wish to pursue this proposal.
“Our priority is to balance the need to conserve our spectacular landscape, whilst securing vibrant communities, and being open to opportunities to enhance our economy and improve the offer we have for visitors. There is no special treatment for us or any potential applicant.
“If an applicant had been submitted it would have gone through the normal public consultation and decision making process to assess whether or not it is suitable development for this location.
“The fact this proposal involved National Park land is not an untypical situation for us or any planning authority. It would be subject to the exact same process as an application with no commercial benefit. We want to continue to work with residents and businesses to explore options to meet the needs of visitors and the community to help improve the special qualities of this valley and help boost the local economy.”
SPOKESPERSON FOR LAKE DISTRICT NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY
“Further to the statements issues by Treetop Trek and the LDNPA regarding the scrapping of the proposal for a zip wire installation in the open countryside of the Glenridding valley the statement below provides a response from community members interested in supporting
- the community
- sustainable tourism
- the spectacular landscape of the Glenridding valley:
“Glenridding zip wire proposal withdrawn. Following the official statement from both Mike Turner of the zip wire company Treetop Trek and the National Park spokesperson we would like to reiterate firstly our thanks to Mike for standing by his word and abiding by the overwhelming majority decision of our community vote against this proposal. We would also like to state that we are deeply disappointed at the lame press release from the National Park.
“Despite various direct and indirect communication with them throughout this process, including Richard Leafe’s attendance at the last Parish Council Open Meeting in Glenridding on the 3rd December at which over 120 of our community attended it is clear that he has learnt nothing from this experience.
“Richard Leafe acknowledged the widespread distrust exhibited at that meeting towards him and National Park management. He said “I will take that away with me from this meeting” but there is no sign from him or the park management on how they are going to address this very serious issue.
“Whilst his position may be very onerous and challenging particularly in the face of Government cuts, he cannot succeed without the public behind him. What is becoming abundantly clear is that there is a real danger that Mr Leafe is taking the Lakes in the wrong direction, and what our campaign demonstrated is the need to look again at the whole purpose of the park, the governance structure and the way in which those responsible for the governance of the park are appointed and judged.
“It is time now, we believe, for a wide ranging debate and central to this are a number of questions that need addressing: How many other communities within the Lake District are also distrustful of national park management? Is it time for a top down restructuring and change in personnel? Is it time for Government to address the role and structure of the Lake District national park authority?”
NO ZIP HERE CAMPAIGN