Lake District Sell-Off Criticised

Last week we reported that Stickle Tarn had been put up for sale by its owners the Lake District Naional Park Authority (LDNPA). Six other sites owned by the Authority have now joined it on the market.

Louise, Pavey Ark, 268 kb
Louise, Pavey Ark
© Tom McNally, Jun 2011

The LDNPA currenty own or manage some 9000 hectares in the park, roughly 4% of its area. Against a background of budget pressures they now want to offload a few of these properties. 

In addition to Stickle Tarn the properties advertised for sale by tender are: Baneriggs Wood between Grasmere and Rydal Water; Lady Wood overlooking Grasmere; a small stretch of river frontage near Keswick; Blue Hill and Red Bank Wood in Ambleside; Blea Brows on the shore of Coniston Water; and Yewbarrow Wood in Longsleddale.

'The properties advertised for sale in the Westmorland Gazette are part of the Lake District National Park’s ongoing sales and acquisitions review to make sure our properties are managed effectively within the current financial climate' explained Mark Hoggar, Head of Resources at the National Park.

'In line with this, and following consultation, we have agreed that the properties advertised are no longer required for our property needs and are suitable for sale by formal tender. We have put measures in place to ensure the responsible disposal of these properties, all of which are subject to the planning framework of the Lake District National Park.'

'We have safeguarded and strengthened public access where it already exists and included other special conditions to protect the special qualities.'

'The proceeds of any property sales will be reinvested into improving or maintaining other National Park properties we own. This work is in support of the agreed vision and plan set out with our partners to jointly manage the National Park.'

However not everyone sounds completely convinced. Jan Darrall, policy officer at Friends of the Lake District, said:

‘Friends of the Lake District understand the financial pressures that have created the present situation for Lake District National Park Authority, and recognise that this may be a recurrent issue. However, we regret that LDNPA feels the need to change its property portfolio so significantly, particularly disposing of popular and iconic properties such as Stickle Tarn.'

‘Friends of the Lake District would be concerned if the change to the LDNPA’s property portfolio resulted in land being held for commercial or operational reasons only, and not for the reasons National Parks were originally set up, ie. to conserve and enhance their natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage, and to promote opportunities for their understanding and enjoyment by the public.'

‘We greatly value the role of the Lake District National Park Authority as a property holder, able to manage land in accordance with National Park purposes and set good practice on behalf of the Nation, and we hope this role will continue.'

‘Friends of the Lake District is eager to ensure that future owners of the sale properties understand, and are in sympathy with, the use of the land for National Park purposes, and are committed to stewarding the land in a way that protects the Lake District landscape for generations to come. Therefore, we have requested conditions are attached to the sale of properties that reflect this commitment to long-term stewardship for the future.’

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