Revised proposals for a controversial Lake District visitor attraction that had been previously refused and campaigned against have been submitted.

Burlington Stone and operators Zip World formally submitted plans to the Lake District National Park Authority last year.

New plans for the Elterwater Quarry Experience still include three original elements:

  •  the Cavern Explorer - a gravity driven tour of the underground cavern void in which participants are attached via a harness to an overhead safety system fixed to the cavern walls and roof. 

  • Quarryman’s Viewpoint - where visitors can learn about the history of slate production in the area with views across a working slate quarry. 

  • A Visitor Centre with facilities 

Plans for a 'Cavern coaster’ ride were previously removed from the planning application.

The application said: "The proposal would regenerate this existing site, making efficient use of the existing on- site facilities, renovating them to provide a quality customer experience which would effectively communicate the unique and interesting heritage of the site whilst set amongst it. Building upon the reputation it already holds as an unique and beautiful setting, the proposals would promote the quarry’s legacy."

The Westmorland Gazette: The cavern that would have been used for the proposal (Image: Submitted)The cavern that would have been used for the proposal (Image: Submitted) (Image: LDNPA planning portal)

Landscape conservation charity Friends of the Lake District objected to the plans in February 2023 citing concerns about traffic including vehicle and visitor impacts on the rural character of the area.

ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites, an advisory body to UNESCO) also voiced deep concerns and over 90,000 people signed an online petition, created by a group called Zip Off Langdale, with concerns the area was being turned into a 'theme park'.

Plans were rejected by planners in September on the grounds of traffic impact. 

The partnership now says it has taken into consideration the reasons for the refusal however stated in its resubmission pack that 'the application does not seek to revisit matters that were settled during the planning application process ongoing throughout 2023.'

It said: "This includes in relation to: highway safety and capacity; nature conservation; flood risk; landscape and visual effects; building form; and, geological interpretation."

Friends of the Lake District had previously stated the original plans did not include any new sustainable transport infrastructure or facilities to improve connectivity nor does it propose to improve water-based transport.

The partnership now states however that it has sought to enhance sustainable travel opportunities with the Elterwater Quarry Experience Travel Plan.

Proposals include providing an improved no. 516 bus service or operate a private Zip World shuttle bus from Brockhole.

It also aims to encourage walking and cycling with appropriate signage and promotion of routes along with signing up to the Cycle2Work scheme.

There will also be showering and changing facilities on site, promotion of bike hire including basic bike repair equipment on-site.

Zip World would also financially reward customers through ticket pricing that have used non-car travel to make all or part of their journey to the experience, for example via an enhanced bus service Park and Ride and active and ferry travel.

A Friends of the Lakes District spokesman said: "We've heard that revised proposals have been submitted for a visitor attraction at Elterwater Quarry. 

"The usual 21 day deadline has been extended due to the holiday period and comments are sought by 31 January.

"We and many others objected to the previous scheme due to impacts on the character and tranquillity of the area, World Heritage attributes and traffic.

"We'll be looking at the new plans in detail during January and we will be responding. It still includes the ropes course within the caverns which includes zip wire sections, but, like the previous application, it does not include any stand-alone outdoor zip wire.

"Our main focus when reviewing the new application will be the transport/travel plan.".

To view the application and respond by January 31, search for planning reference 7/2023/5767 on the LDNPA planning portal.