The company behind a controversial idea to install a mile-long zipwire visitor attraction above the Lakeland village of Glenridding has abandoned its proposal on the drawing board, following a landslide local vote late last week.
Treetop Trek's plan, which had the backing of Lake District National Park (LDNP) chief executive Richard Leafe, came unstuck after the community voted by 324 votes to 13 against it. Local worries that the attraction would damage both the economy and the unspoilt feel of the area are summed up in this recent opinion piece on UKH.
Mike Turner from Treetop Trek was quick to acknowledge defeat:
'Whilst I obviously regret not having been able to develop the concept into a proposal, the local community has made their views very clear and I will stand by our commitment not to pursue this any further in Glen Ridding [sic]' he said.
'I am grateful for having had the opportunity to debate what was always going to be a contentious topic and in doing so have at least demonstrated that the zip wire concept is valid and broadly acceptable in the right location. I would like to thank the community again for their time. It is to their complete credit that they have been so unified in their response.'
And today the LDNP issued the following:
'This has been an unusual and complex potential planning application.
'Treetop Trek has listened to the community, taken on board the strength of feeling and announced that they no longer wish to pursue this proposal.'
'Our priority is to balance the need to conserve our spectacular landscape, whilst securing vibrant communities, and being open to opportunities to enhance our economy and improve the offer we have for visitors.'
'There is no special treatment for us or any potential applicant. If an applicant had been submitted it would have gone through the normal public consultation and decision making process to assess whether or not it is suitable development for this location.'
'The fact this proposal involved National Park land is not an untypical situation for us or any planning authority. It would be subject to the exact same process as an application with no commercial benefit.'
'We want to continue to work with residents and businesses to explore options to meet the needs of visitors and the community to help improve the special qualities of this valley and help boost the local economy.'
Landscape conservation charity Friends of the Lake District have welcomed the news.
Friends' Policy Officer Kate Willshaw said:
'We are pleased that Treetop Treks has listened to the very strong local opposition to the proposal and has decided against applying to put a zipwire up on the open fellside in this well-loved valley.'