Support rushes in for Honister zip wire plan
Last updated at 11:41, Friday, 18 January 2013
Honister Slate Mine has been inundated with thousands of messages of support since Lake District planners turned down permission for a zip wire last week.
Jan Wilkinson, owner of the working mine and tourist attraction, said she had received emails, letters, phone calls and many other messages from people dismayed about the Lake District National Park Authority’s decision.
She is seeking legal advice on the implications and costs of an appeal.
The company wanted to put a 3,400ft zip wire from Honister Crags to the visitor centre car park for 18 months.
An independent survey would have been carried out during that time to assess its impact.
The proposal came after a plan for a similar attraction was turned down last year.
Lake District National Park Authority officers recommended that the proposal should be approved, but the planning committee voted against.
Miss Wilkinson said people had even offered to help fund the appeal process and the messages had given her a boost as she fights the decision.
She said: “When you have had a blow like this you start to think ‘what’s the point?’
“When the support comes through in thousands of emails, telephone calls and letters, it makes you realise that yes, the objectors are in the minority.”
Miss Wilkinson, partner of the late mine owner Mark Weir, added: “The appeal will go forward. It’s just if it becomes a frenzy of funds I haven’t got a bottomless pit. We’ll have to take a rain check if we get to that point.”
Climber Sir Chris Bonington, of Caldbeck, criticised the “fortress mentality” of some members of the authority’s planning committee.
He said: “They also need to reflect on the consequences of completely ignoring their trained officers. I don’t think that planning board is operating in the interests of the national park as a whole, for the people who visit and enjoy it or for the park’s long-term future. Something needs to be done.”
Sir Chris resigned from his role as vice-president of the Friends of the Lake District after last Wednesday’s decision because of the group’s opposition to the plan.
The Friends of the Lake District defended its objection to the application.
Jack Ellerby, policy officer, said: “The unspoilt character of the Lakeland fells, along with the lakes, really are the bedrock of what attracts people.
“When you look at any tourism business marketing and branding it’s all to do with beautiful fells with nothing on them.”
He said there was 900 years of quarrying history at Honister, but said that was associated with the national park’s core aim to conserve cultural heritage, while a zip wire was not.
Miss Wilkinson said the wire was needed to generate extra income to support the business and without it, she said, the mine could be under threat.
Jonathan Denby, of the Lakes Hospitality Association, said: “The Lake District is not a museum. We should be thinking of tomorrow’s younger visitors, not the day before yesterday’s.”
A Keswick Tourism Association spokesman said: “We were shocked. particularly as this is a fell surrounding a working slate mine.
“The zip wire would have provided a reason to visit the area.”
Planning committee chairman Mike McKinley, who was among the seven members to vote against the plans, declined to comment.
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First published at 11:39, Friday, 18 January 2013
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
Planning committee chairman Mike McKinley, who was among the seven members to vote against the plans, declined to comment.Consider the above in the light of the Park Authority code of conduct for members:Authority Handbook
Section 2: Members Supporting Information
(8) You must be as open as possible about your decisions and actions and the decisions and actions of your authority and should be prepared to give reasons for those decisions and actionsTime for openness, I think!
So called 'Zip Wires' have no place at the top of Honister or for that matter anywhare within the Cubrian Fells. This is a location with small and difficult access roads and therefore cannot sustain increased 'visitor' and traffic levels without serious detrimental impact to the local area and genuine locals.
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