The car park was used by people making the ascent of Cat Bells. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The car park was used by people making the ascent of Cat Bells. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Campaigners say a proposed permanent car park near the foot of a popular Lakeland fell has polarised arguments.

Friends of the Lake District pointed out that the facility at Ullock Moss near Portinscale is in contravention of the national park’s planning policies.

The facility has demonstrated the conflict between the need to provide parking for the thousands who ascend Cat Bells and the park authority’s vision for smarter travel.

The car park at Ullock Moss was first in operation during summer 2020 under permitted development rules which normally allow land to be used for car parking without planning permission for 28 days which was extended to 56 days during the Covid-19 crisis as an emergency measure in response to the influx of visitors experienced when the first lockdown was lifted.

The charity said several temporary car parks were created in the open countryside under the relaxation of the rules.

The Friends said: “Many responses have already been submitted to this planning application, including from local residents of Portinscale and landscape charity Friends of the Lake District who recognise the need for parking and traffic issues to be addressed in the location, close to the major tourist hub of Keswick, but do not view the proposal as an acceptable or appropriate solution.

“Their concern is that a car park will set a precedent which could have a major bearing on the wider future of the Lake District, what it will look like and what it will become.

“Importantly, the proposal is in direct conflict with the [Lake District National Park Authority]’s own planning policies relating to the location of new car parks and when they would be allowed. This includes current policies and, to an even greater degree, those in their new local plan, which is expected to come into force imminently. it also conflicts with the national park management plan and the vision for smarter travel in the park.”

The Lingholm Trust has submitted the application. The Cumbria Way long-distance path runs through the area.

The Friends said the national park policies and plans all establish that reducing travel by car to, from and within the park is a top priority alongside providing a range of integrated, sustainable travel options.

Lorayne Wall, planning officer at Friends of the Lake District said: “Allowing a new car park in this location threatens to set back plans for sustainable travel and a low-carbon Lake District before they even get started.

“Instead, we are urging the LDNPA to stick to its plans and policies and follow the lead of Snowdonia national park in implementing them.

“Traffic, parking issues and carbon emissions continue to rise and it is imperative that we do not undermine the opportunity for a more sustainable future by continuing with a business-as-usual ad-hoc approach to the localised parking problems that impact on many of our communities.”

The charity said many in opposition to the Ullock Moss proposal want the authority to send a clear message that proposals to make permanent any temporary car parks allowed under the currently relaxed permitted development rules will not automatically be looked upon favourably and will require the same scrutiny as any other new proposal under the strict criteria set out in the local plan.

Submissions on the proposals can be made up to 5 March on the Lake District National Park Authority website, using the application reference number 7/2020/2291.

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Relief as Lake District authority throws out ‘Legoland’ White Moss plans
  2. Friends of Lake District ’still interested’ in deal for Stickle Tarn
  3. Lake District zip wire plans withdrawn
  4. Lake District and Yorkshire Dales expansion inquiry opens tomorrow
  5. Lakes campaigners object to latest Honister zip-wire plans