The Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) is considering the idea of a waterbus service on Windermere. As a step towards that goal they are currently running a public consultation on the possiblility of building more jetties on the lake.
National Park Ranger Steve Tatlock said the consultation will enable LDNPA staff to evaluate whether Windermere's lake access and transport is well served by existing facilities or if lake users think there is room for more.
Since 2005 the LDNPA has been exploring the possible development of waterbus services on Windermere.
'The proposal fits with the objective of improving sustainable transport links in the wider park area, in addition to enhancing the quality of the visitor experience and assisting the development of key visitor attractions around the lake' says a National Park study of 2009.
'At present, the majority of water-based services focus on lake cruises, which are attractions in themselves, rather than services which would be considered as waterbus per se. The proposal to develop waterbus services on the lake was identified by the Windermere Management Strategy (2005). It was envisaged that services could connect more lakeside attractions, holiday accommodation centres, footpaths, cycle paths and links with local bus networks where possible. Consultations with stakeholders have shown widespread support for extended waterbus services, comparable to those on Derwentwater and Coniston Water.'
Last year the LDNPA and Cumbria County Council secured £4.8million from the Government's Local Sustainable Transport Fund (as reported on UKH in July). Some of this money could be used for the lake transport project.
In the latest round of consultation letters have been sent to lake users and landowners, asking them to choose possible locations for future jetties in an effort to improve sustainable transport options on the lake. Only boat owners and landowners have been contacted directly, but the LDNPA also welcome views from anyone with an interest. The consultation runs until 20 February.
An interactive map on the Authority's website lets people list their favourite options and detail why (that is, if) they think access facilities need to improve in certain areas of the country's most visited lake.
'We are constantly working to improve and increase opportunities for visitors to move around without necessarily using their cars. We would like to see if there is a case for making changes such as enhancing or relocating existing jetties or developing new ones to make it easier to get to attractions, places where people stay and the wider countryside' Steve Tatlock said.
'When the survey results have been analysed we will be in a much stronger position to prioritise sites of improvement. The survey will also help us decide where to direct money from the sustainable transport fund to improve lake access and travel.'
Details of the consultation – including the map showing potential areas of development - can be seen at the LDNPA website