The Grasmere boats application has been withdrawn. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Grasmere boats application has been withdrawn. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Organisers of a day of action against the commercialisation of the Lake District plan to go ahead with the event despite the withdrawal of an application that sparked the protest.

The gathering in Grasmere village will take place on Saturday 1 February and has been organised by Houseboats off Grasmere.

The group formed after Lowther Estates applied for a certificate of lawfulness for up to 10 recreational boats to be placed on Grasmere, which would include overnight holiday stays on the vessels.

The Lake District National Park Authority confirmed this week that the estate had withdrawn the application for the certificate, which was designed to test the water on whether the proposals needed planning permission. A draft report by the authority said the use of the electrically powered ‘gentleman’s yachts would constitute a change of use, therefore it recommended refusal of a certificate of lawfulness.

It also pointed out bylaws covering smaller lakes within the national park prohibited the use of powered boats on Grasmere.

It noted that it had received more than 280 individual letters or emails of objection, together with objections from Lakes Parish Council, the Friends of the Lake District, the National Trust and Grasmere Historic Society. An online petition opposing the plan had more than 4,500 supporters.

The plan for the Grasmere yachts was the latest in a series of developments and plans that opponents said risked the over-commercialisation of the Lake District.

These included the decision to allow the continued use by motor vehicles of green lanes in the Tilberthwaite area; the installation of zipwires; and proposals for a cable car at Whinlatter. The decision to resurface with asphalt part of the former railway line between Keswick and Threlkeld used by walkers also drew complaints.

The Friends of the Lake District launched a Save Our Lake District campaign, saying the national park was ‘under siege’.

The day of action will begin at Moss Parrock in the centre of Grasmere village. Protesters will walk to Penny Rock beach on the shore of the lake.

The Lowther Estate, which owns large tracts of land in the Lake District. In 2014 it put Blencathra up for sale to help pay the Earl of Lonsdale’s inheritance tax bill. It was subsequently taken off the market, thwarting a community effort to buy the mountain.

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