Controversial plans to build a zip-wire on a Lake District mountainside have been thrown out again by national park planners.
And top mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington has reportedly resigned from his post as vice-president of the Friends of the Lake District, one of the main groups that opposed proposals.
Honister Slate Mine’s resubmitted proposal for the aerial slide from the flanks of Fleetwith Pike to the mine below the fell was turned down today by the Lake District National Park Authority’s development control committee.
Committee members refused the application on the grounds of its impact on the landscape. The vote was split seven to four.
It is the second time the mine’s zip-wire bid has been defeated. In September 2011, the committee turned down the original bid for a 1.2km zip-wire, the brainchild of the late Mark Weir, then owner of the mine, who died in a helicopter crash near the site.
The plan split opinion, with the Friends of the Lake District and two local parish councils opposing the zip-wire, but Everest summiteer and Cumbria resident Sir Chris Bonington in favour.
Sir Chris addressed the development control committee meeting today to support the application, along with Mr Weir’s partner Jan Wilkinson and Nigel Wilkinson of Windermere Lake Cruises.
Jack Ellerby of the Friends of the Lake District, John Bennett, representing Borrowdale and Buttermere Parish Councils and David Nicholson, a keen walker, all spoke against.
The vote went against the authority’s officers’ recommendations, which said the proposal should be approved with conditions. The plan was for a 1.04km wire, in two sections.
A spokesperson for the Friends of the Lake District said: “We are pleased that the Lake District National Park Authority members agreed that the scale of this proposal in this location was inappropriate and the open fell should remain free from man-made developments, protected for everyone’s benefit.
“This is the best decision for the Lake District’s wider tourism economy now and in the longer-term.
“The decision reaffirms the previous refusal, recognising that recreational activities reliant on man-made infrastructure and harmful to the landscape should not be allowed in sensitive locations.
“We support many forms of adventurous outdoor pursuits in the Lake District, for example: rockclimbing, mountain biking, canoeing, swimming and fellrunning, which are enjoyed by large numbers of young – and not so young – people.
“Zip-wires and GoApe tree assault courses are best located in forest settings as they are in other parts of the UK.”
Border TV reported that Sir Chris Bonington has resigned as vice-president of the Friends after the vote.
Honister Slate Mine had not responded to our calls at the time of posting.