I WRITE partly in response to the Lake District National Park Authority Local Planning Review 2019 and partly out of growing frustration as a resident of Bowness with growing traffic and illegal coach and other vehicle parking.

My family and I live near Braithwaite Fold overflow car park. For the first time in many years, all the houses here are lived in by their owners. So, unusually for the Lake District, our very small community is nearly 100 per cent owner occupied.

However, as a result of the policies of LDNPA, South Lakeland District Council and Cumbria County Council of encouraging exponential growth in visitor numbers, we are becoming inundated, and at particularly busy times, life here has become unpleasant because of the traffic.

On bank holidays, cars, camper vans and full-size coaches park on the double yellow lines with utter impunity, making it difficult and even dangerous for us to get out of our drive. At other times, drivers roar off with screaming engines having had to wait for ages to get out.

Every Sunday afternoon, swarms of loud motorbikes set off in packs, decimating the atmosphere.

There are days when the whole road is gridlocked, with drivers sounding their horns in frustration, exhausts belching out fumes from revving engines. The atmosphere is anything but ‘World Heritage Status.’ I wonder what the likes of Trip Advisor would make of photos of this state of affairs being posted, and what effect this would have on visitors planning to come and swell the tourist trade?

This last week, in frustration, I’ve asked a number of coach drivers who have pulled up outside our house, engines running, fumes filling our garden, to move on. To be fair, they’ve been very decent about it, but it’s embarrassing to have to speak to them.

One driver was very obviously frustrated himself. He’d dropped a coach party off at the Old England Hotel, but couldn’t find anywhere to park his coach overnight. I couldn’t help, as I don’t know of anywhere coaches can park legally overnight in Bowness or Windermere.

So, LDNPA is encouraging visitors, but they’re not providing adequate infrastructure to cope with them. They want to grow tourism, but don’t seem to be aware there is a limit to the physical capacity of the honey pots they are promoting. They want the economy to benefit from the tourism pound, but don’t seem to care the whole environment, including residents’ quality of life, can also suffer badly as a result.

I used to live in Cockermouth, and before that Bassenthwaite and Keswick. All these once-beautiful places are now blighted by the same over-development of the tourism industry. I know we need the income, and we like most visitors, but the LDNPA has encouraged the local economy to become too focused on the single goose that lays golden eggs of tourism.

So, in planning terms, what am I asking?

1. Do NOT encourage any more tourism without building in appropriate infrastructure. Windermere and Bowness urgently needs a park and ride scheme, out of town and out of sight, for cars and coaches. Why not plan this to coincide with the electrification of the railway and make it mandatory to operate electric buses in the National Park?

2. Do NOT further develop the Braithwaite Fold car park as a ‘Transport Hub.’ 3. DO create a second exit for the Braithwaite Fold Car Park via the Ferry Road car park. This would require minimal investment for a huge benefit to Glebe Road residents. There are no permanent residents on the east end of Ferry Road. Even better, provide a dedicated second exit from the Braithwaite Fold car park into Ferry Road east.

4. Do NOT encourage the development of any more ‘attractions’ like Brockhole or Fellfoot. What on earth is the point of attracting people to experience the Lake District, in all its undoubted beauty and majesty, only to concentrate them in artificially created ‘attractions’, complete with indoor fibreglass cave experiences?

5. You must take account of how developing the tourism potential of the central Lake District pushes up property prices and in the peripheral areas. Numbers on school rolls on the periphery are under pressure from the inability of young families to live in their home villages. Hospitality and retail workers simply cannot afford to buy, or even rent, in many of these places any more.

You are in process of creating a sterilised, monocultural, homes for the wealthy, traffic choked, fume-filled Disney-esque pastiche of what was once the Lake District.

Dr James Bruce Bowness