by HELEN PERKINS A THIRD attempt to have the Lake District recognised as a World Heritage Site has failed.

Judges from the Department for Culture Media and Sport said there was still ‘substantial development work to be done’ on the region’s bid.

Bid organisers – Cumbria Tourism, the Lake District Nat-ional Park Authority, Cumbria County Council and the Forestry Commission – said they were ‘very disappointed’ by the failure, which follows two earlier frustrated bids in the 1980s.

However, the groups now hope that a developed bid could succeed next year and give the national park the accreditation enjoyed by 28 UK sites, the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, and the Great Barrier Reef.

The Lake District was included in a list of 11 potential World Heritage Sites last year – and was one of four to submit a ‘technical evaluation’ by a panel of experts who went on to put forward the Forth railway bridge in Scotland and Gorham’s Cave complex in Gibraltar as World Heritage site nominations.

It is hoped the status will boost tourism, although opponents fear it may lead to more planning restrictions.

Bid chair Lord David Clark said: “We were very disappointed but this is not necessarily a setback because we have been told we have a chance to submit another bid by 2015 – which was the date we were aiming for.”

Keith Jones, for the Forestry Commission, said: “Application feedback has been positive. We have got work to do but we already knew that.

“We think World Heritage Site status really suits the Lake District because it highlights the area’s cultural landscape as well as its physical qualities.

“This was the birthplace of the conservation movement and the National Trust and was fundamental to worldwide conservation.

“The letter we have received from the minister of the Department for Culture Media and Sport suggests strongly that we should submit again and could catch other bids up and our application would go to UNESCO at the same time as it would if it had passed this time.”