RADICAL plans to revamp a Lake District tourist attraction and turn it into a ‘world-class’ visitor experience have been given the thumbs up.

Members of the Lake District National Park Authority yesterday (Wednesday), voted to endorse the Brockhole Masterplan, which aims to breathe new life into the centre on the shores of Windermere.

The idea was met with a chorus of disapproval when it was first revealed back in October, with many local residents worried their quality of life would be hit by the publicly-subsidised centre’s hopes of holding weddings and other functions outdoors.

But park services director Bob Cartwright told the meeting there had been a rethink following discussions with neighbours to the facility.

“I have made that commitment that we will not hold wedding receptions in the grounds,” he said.

Speaking after the meeting, Ann and Ken Clarke, whose homes are right next to the centre, said: “We are very happy that they have decided to take away the wedding receptions because that was proposed to be right next to our houses and they will now be inside a building.”

Fellow neighbour John Simpson added: “The authority claims it wants to encourage the quiet enjoyment of the Lake District, so why are we being bombarded with these things?”

Mr Clarke added: “Brockhole should be showing the Lakes off, not running events.”

Designed by Cheshire-based firm Planit–IE, the scheme is all part of plans to reverse Brockhole from being a cost centre to a profit centre – already the £350,000 annual budget cost in 2008/9 has been cut to a projected £177,000 in 2012/13.

The masterplan focuses on seven main areas: * Access – developing a one-way road entrance and exit system; * Parking – creating more ‘woodland’ feel to car parks by planting more trees; * Paths – linking gardens, woodlands and major activities; * Gardens – restoring the heart of the historic gardens; * Play activities – building a new watersports centre; * Events – establishing new outside areas to accommodate up to 5,000 people; and * Buildings – introducing a new centre near the current adventure playground.

Development programme director Adam Thomas said the masterplan would, over the next 15 years, provide a blueprint to establish Brockhole as an ‘all-weather destination and a taster venue that encourages exploration of the Lake District’.