AN action group set up to buy an iconic Lake District mountain believe they may be on the cusp of victory.
The sale of Blencathra has taken a dramatic twist with campaigners planning on applying for the mountain to become a community asset.
Should that status be granted, it would force Lord Lonsdale, who is selling the land to pay-off his £9million inheritance tax, to delay the sale by six months.
If the application goes ahead, the local auhority, Eden District Council, must consider if Blencathra is of special cultural or historic significance to the area to award it community asset status.
The campaigners believe the authority will, due to the high volume of sporting and historic agricultural activities that happen on the mountain.
According to a government website, if the asset was put up for sale it would trigger a six week window of opportunity during which any local community group may express an interest to buy it.
If they express an interest, a further four and a half months is given so the group can find funding and put together a bid to purchase Blencathra on the open market.
Should an application be lodged a decision would be made at 6pm on July 1 at Askham Village Hall.
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The Friends of Blencathra group has also become a registered charity and is accepting donations, with 204 made in the first day – they can be made in branches of The Cumberland Building Society.
David Farrar, a spokesperson for the action group, said: “This means we can now take donations towards purchasing Blencathra and making it the People’s Peak.”
Debbie Cosgrove, Chairman of Friends of Blencathra, said: “We still need people to get behind us and make the donations that they pledged, but we are thrilled with the support.”
A source confirmed that the group was in discussions ‘with a number of key players’ about the upkeep of Blencathra should the community officially own what Wainwright termed ‘the jewel in Lakeland’s crown’.
For more information visit friendsofblencathra.co.uk.