UPDATED: Planners agree to site visit before ruling on 1443ft long zip wire plan for Lake District (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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UPDATED: Planners agree to site visit before ruling on 1443ft long zip wire plan for Lake District
PLANNERS have decided in the last hour to host a site visit before deciding on a proposal to create a zip wires experience in the Lake District.
Members of the The Lake District National Park Authority's development control committee will now attend the site before going any further with a decision now likely in April.
Go Ape, which operates a tree tops course throughout Grizedale Forest, is bidding to win permission for a 'zip wire trekking course.'
It would involve seven individual zip wires for people to ride down, varying in length from 551ft at their shortest, to a maximum length of 1443ft.
It would create a 'nearly continous descent' from one of the highest points in Grizedale Forest, all the way down to the existing car park.
The applicants say there could be 20 participants on the course every 20 minutes.
Users would travel in pairs - starting and stopping at timber-built take off and landing structures.
Papers compiled by National Park planners say the zip wires 'would not be visible from any great distance through the forest,' but would 'appear visible where they cross the field on the final zip.'
The development is said to benefit Go Ape and the Grizedale Visitor Centre, but would only involve two new part-time jobs being created.
The application by Go Ape parent company, Adventure Forest Limited, has been being recommended for the go-ahead with conditions.
Twelve members of the authority's development control committee met this morning.
Three letters of objection have been submitted.
Cumbria Wildlife Trust has concerns a bat survey has not been carried out and how the development might impact on roosts.
However, planners say early indications suggest that it would not result in harm to bats.
Satterthwaite Parish Council is opposed on several grounds.
In particular how people would get to the start of the zip wire course at its heighest point - Ormandy Intakes, with the suggestion of increased use of 4x4 vehicles throughout the Forest to take them up to the start.
It has also said the development would be obtrusive, generate more traffic on the rural roads leading to Grizedale Forest, increase litter, additional noise and disturbance.
Papers before the committee say: "Recent studies suggest that the image of the National Park's visitor offer is looking tired. Tourism needs to up its game and provide new attractions in order to retain and attract UK customers and give the area a stronger international profile."
"This proposal falls in line with the type of activities that the Tourism Strategy, the Adventure Capital Strategy and Cumbria Tourism wish to promote."
"The new zip wires are an alternative for those who are perhaps more nervous and less inclined to take the high route (Go Ape). Arguably, they would encourage more visitors."