Campaigners Hail Lakeland Development Refusal

Conservation groups have expressed relief at a decision by the Lake District National Park to reject proposed visitor facilities at White Moss near Grasmere that would, they said, have been more suited to Disney World than a national park.

Looking down on Rydal Water from Red Screes, 63 kb
Looking down on Rydal Water from Red Screes
© Mark Eddy, Nov 2014

Landowner Jim Lowther, brother of the eighth Earl of Lonsdale who is custodian of the family’s estate, had applied to develop common land at White Moss on the A591 between Rydal Water and Grasmere. The plan included a visitor centre with cafe and retail outlets, more car parking, and a series of defined tracks and trails.

The Lake District National Park Authority’s Development Control Committee yesterday voted by 12 to 2 to throw out the proposal, which had been recommended for approval by the park's own planning officers.

'We are highly relieved that committee members upheld national park principles and recognised the damage that this money-making scheme would cause' said Kate Ashbrook, General Secretary of the Open Spaces Society.

‘Such a commercial enterprise was more suited to Disney World or Legoland than a tranquil corner of the superlative Lake District which inspired the Romantic tradition.'

‘The members shared our astonishment that the park’s planners could support such a damaging scheme. We are delighted that it has been thrown out.’

Landscape charity Friends of the Lake District also expressed serious concerns that if this application had been approved, it would have set a precedent allowing more development in open countryside in the National Park.

Kate Willshaw, Planning Officer for Friends of the Lake District spoke against the application at the committee meeting. 

'The proposed development at White Moss would have transformed it into a parkland' she said, 'removing the wildness and essential Lake District woodland character which makes it such a special place for residents and visitors alike. We are very relieved that it has been turned down.'

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