Thirlmere, site of the battle over the planned zipwires. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Thirlmere, site of the battle over the planned zipwires. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The controversial planned zipwires across a Lake District reservoir have received backing from two tourism and business bodies.

Cumbria Tourism, which promotes the area to visitors, and the Lake District Park Partnership Business Task Force, both issued statements supporting Tree Top Treks’ proposals for an activity hub at Thirlmere.

The company has submitted plans to the Lake District National Park Authority for twin four-line zipwires across the reservoir and the main A591 road, along with upgrades to the existing cycleway to create a family-friendly route around the whole lake.

Tree Top Trek says the zipwires would be England’s highest and longest, and the hub would boost the local economy, with 52 per cent of business at the hub coming during off-peak months, it claimed.

But the plans have sparked fierce opposition, with the Friends of the Lake District, the British Mountaineering Council, the Open Spaces Society and the Fell and Rock Climbing Club voicing objections to the proposed zipwires.

Gill Haigh, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “The Lake District, Cumbria, is well known as a leading destination for adventure activities and this application is a great example of an innovative development which will particularly appeal to the 16-34 year old age group.

“It is vitally important that we reach younger audiences, both domestically and internationally, in order to build repeat visits and ensure the long-term sustainability of our tourism industry. As the proposal also includes a valuable cycleway, it will also further enhance Cumbria’s reputation as a top destination for cycling.”

Nick Lancaster, chairman for the Lake District Park Partnership Business Task Force said: “The activity hub at Thirlmere represents an evolution of the Lake District visitor offering and would be more appealing to a new generation of visitor.

“Within the Business Task Force there was overwhelming support for the project; a substantial majority of the businesses were supportive.”

The task force is a sub-group of the Lake District National Park Partnership and is co-ordinated by the national park authority under an independent chair.

Members of the public can submit their views before a 2 January 2018 deadline. Details are on the park authority website.

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