A visual impression created for the developers of how the zip wire will look from the west shore of Thirlmere. Image: Tree Top Trek

A visual impression created for the developers of how the zip wire will look from the west shore of Thirlmere. Image: Tree Top Trek

Developers who want to build two zipwires across a Lake District reservoir have submitted their formal plans.

Tree Top Trek, which runs a high-wires facility and small zipwire near Windermere, is proposing to establish its Thirlmere Activity Hub, including two quadruple ziplines, up to 1.2km long, over the main A591 road and the lake.

The company contends that the installation of the activity hub, which also includes extensions to the existing round-lake cycle track, would not detract significantly from the outstanding universal value which gained the national park its world heritage site status recently.

It says in its application that the hub would create 53 jobs, boosting employment income annually by £600,000, which equates to £11,320 per post. Tree Top Trek maintains planning policy allows for development in open countryside, where there is an essential need, and its zipwire would need a steep-sided valley location.

But Lake District National Park Authority planning officers said: “A case has not been made that the proposal would satisfy policy as a matter principle.

“No information has been provided to demonstrate that the zipwire proposals would rely on a fixed geographical resource.

“Based on the information provided and because the proposed development would be in the open countryside the zipwire proposals would be contrary to the provisions of policies, and therefore remain unacceptable as a matter of policy principle.”

The Friends of the Lake District conservation charity was also consulted before the submission of the formal plans this week. The group said it is opposed to the zipwire but supports the upgraded cycle path.

It said it will make a full assessment of the proposals before submitting its own written response, but added: “We are against the proposal and would strongly urge all members and supporters to join us in taking action to stop this intrusive development.

“The siting of zipwires east-west across Thirlmere we consider to be wholly inappropriate in this location and we object strongly to this element of the proposal.

Thirlmere, scene of previous conservation battles. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Thirlmere, scene of previous conservation battles. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

“Thirlmere, and the resistance to the desire to create a reservoir to service Manchester in the 1870s was a seminal moment in the history of the conservation movement and landscape protection in the UK and beyond.

“This battle brought in to focus the fact that landscapes matter to everyone, not just those who own land; it highlighted the incredible natural resources of the Lake District but also its vulnerability and sensitivity.

“This proposal once again brings these issues in to focus albeit in a thoroughly modern context.

“This prominence makes the valley a key attribute contributing to the outstanding universal value of the English Lake District world heritage site.

“We consider that the proposal would have a detrimental impact on the landscape character and tranquillity of the Thirlmere valley and, as such, conflicts with the intrinsic purposes of the national park.”

Members of the public can make submissions supporting or opposing the plans. Full details are on the Lake District National Park Authority website.

Submissions should be made by 2 January 2018.

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