Fleetwith Pike: the zip wire would run from the crags on the left

Fleetwith Pike: the zip wire would run from the crags on the left

The would-be developer of the controversial Lake District zip wire says his plans are not dead and he will resubmit the application next year.

Mark Weir, owner of the Honister Slate Mine, withdrew the planning application for the 1,200m aerial slide which was to be heard by the Lake District national park planner next month.

The application has caused controversy with the Friends of the Lake District and other outdoor bodies opposing the plans.

But Mr Weir today told grough he intended to press ahead with a revised application.

He said: “We have withdrawn it at this moment in time because we want to have 100 per cent clarity on the application.”

Mr Weir said his company was working with the Lake District authority to get a positive result.

“We didn’t realise it was going to polarise opinion as much as it has,” he added. He said much of the opposition had come about because it had been stated the zip wire would run from the top of Fleetwith Pike, but it was planned to build the ride on a lower crag.

“The starting point for the aerial slide is not the top of Fleetwith Pike, but Black Scar. The Friends of the Lake District were saying it was going to be built on top of Fleetwith Pike. I was born and brought up in the area and I don’t think I would want to see it on the top of Fleetwith myself.

“We will be putting in another application once everything is 100 per cent sorted, in the early part of next year.”

The main stumbling block has been the environmental impact of the zip wire, Mr Weir said. “There are a lot of rare flora and fauna in the area. It’s known as the hanging basket of the Lake District,” he added.

“There are rare and wild species up there; the area is a site of special scientific interest, so we’re going to work with English Nature [Natural England] and come to a resolution of this.”

The proposed zip wire would add to the existing via ferrata and mine tours offered to visitors to the site, on the hause between Borrowdale and Buttermere valley. The via ferrata, the first in Britain, enables less able climbers to tackle rock routes on Honister Crag, on the side of Fleetwith Pike, using a system of iron rungs and cables.

But the Friends of the Lake District argue the zip wire is not an appropriate development for the remote Lakeland site. “In addition to the impact on the fells of the wire itself, Friends of the Lake District were also concerned about the development generating additional traffic into this remote valley, where there is very limited public transport,” a spokesperson said.

The Friends’ planning officer Richard Pearse added: “This is just the wrong place for a visitor attraction that would be aiming to attract large numbers of people.”

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