20th October

We are aware that Tree Top Treks have recently released a visual impression of the proposed zip wires at Thirlmere.

As we have previously indicated it is likely that the zipwires themselves will have a limited visual impact. However, when in use the visual impacts will be increase in severity. It is our understanding that the planning application will be accompanied by a landscape and visual impact assessment which we will assess fully when available.

Furthermore, it should be noted that the visual impact only forms part of our concerns regarding this proposal. We consider that the proposal would have a detrimental impact on the landscape character and tranquillity of the Thirlmere Valley and, as such, would conflict with the purposes of the National Park.

Although we do not know exactly when the application will be submitted we believe it is imminent and will provide further details as soon as we are able to.

11th October

Thank you to all who have contacted us expressing concern and supporting our position regarding this proposal. We expect an application to be submitted by the end of October. We will be contacting members with details as soon as the application is valid and open for representations.

6th September

Following on from our meeting on site with Treetop Trek and attending the public session on 31st August we have had a number of interested parties and organisations contact us.

Our Planning Officer, Laura Fiske, attended The Lakes Area meeting of the British Mountaineering Council on 6th September to convey our concerns regarding the detrimental impacts of the zip wire proposal. The Applicant, Mike Turner, of Treetop Trek also attended and this resulted in an open and healthy debate.

Our position on the proposed zip wire remains unchanged. We do not consider that proposal would positively contribute to the purposes of the National Park as set out in The Environment Act 1995. These purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage
  • Promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of national parks by the public

Some may argue that the proposal could be an opportunity for the promotion and enjoyment of the National Park. However, given the level of detrimental impact this proposal could have on the landscape character visual amenity and tranquillity of the Thirlmere Valley we consider that at the very least it would create conflict between these two purposes. 

The Sandford Principle, as revised in The Environment Act 1995, is clear in stating:

"If it appears that there is a conflict between those purposes, [the National Park Authority] shall attach greater weight to the purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area".

Furthermore, we remain concerned regarding the precedent that this proposal would set for further inappropriate development in the Thirlmere Valley and the wider Lake District. Whilst the proposal currently being discussed does not include ancillary commercial development related to the zip wire or cycle route we are concerned that this will follow. We believe that National Parks are for everyone not just those who can afford to pay for ‘an experience’. The world class landscapes that warrant the designation as a National Park and World Heritage Site provide many free and wonderful experiences to be enjoyed in different ways.

As the proposal has not yet been submitted we will continue to liaise with interested parties and organisations as well as updating our Members if any new information arises.

The applicant has given an indication that the target for submitting the application is ‘Autumn’. Once submitted we will be providing Members with information on the key issues and how to engage in the planning system to ensure that their views are heard and considered by the Lake District National Park Authority.

31st August 2017

Treetop Trek, who have unveiled proposals for what has been termed a ‘Thirlmere Activity Hub’ comprising of an 18km family friendly cycleway and two zip wires across Thirlmere met with locals this afternoon at a consultation event held at Swirls Car Park. The event was attended by our Planning Officer Laura Fiske and Chief Executive Douglas Chalmers.

14th August 2017

Email sent with an update on this proposal and our position to - membership, partners and contacts. You can read the full text of our update by clicking this link


27th July 2017

We recently met with Cumbrian company Treetop Trek to discuss their proposals for what has been termed a ‘Thirlmere Activity Hub’ comprising of an 18km family friendly cycleway and two zip wires across Thirlmere.

The company has launched its plans for consultation prior to submitting a planning application to the Lake District National Park Authority.

Whilst we have not yet seen a detailed planning application for the proposal (nor has it been submitted to the LDNPA) we are concerned regarding the impacts of this proposal.

In terms of the cycle way element of the development we consider that this could be a positive development provided it is designed sensitively. This could provide a safe and enjoyable means of accessing the Lake District sustainably. Furthermore the creation of this cycleway could encourage more people to cycle as a way of accessing and enjoying the outdoors and the associated positive impacts on physical and mental health and wellbeing.

However, the siting of the two zip wires East-West across Thirlmere we consider to be wholly inappropriate in this location and, from what we have seen so far, we would object to this element of the proposal.

Although the structure itself may have a minimal impact we consider that whilst in use the proposal would cause significant detrimental impacts to the landscape character and diminish the tranquillity the Thirlmere valley possesses away from the A591. We are also concerned regarding the management of visitor numbers, increasing traffic and the provision of adequate parking for commercial development in this area of the National Park.

National Parks are for everyone to enjoy not just those who can afford to participate in adventure experiences. A commercial development of this type in this prominent location could potentially have a significant impact on the features people visit the Lake District to enjoy – the landscapes, the tranquillity, the heritage.

Furthermore, we must now also consider the Lake District’s newly bestowed status as a World Heritage site. The Thirlmere Valley makes an important contribution to the Lake District’s Outstanding Universal Value – the reasons for being awarded the status. This is especially true of the Valley’s association with the early conservation movement. 

Thirlmere, and the resistance to the desire to create a reservoir to service Manchester in the 1870’s was a seminal moment in the history of the conservation movement and landscape protection in the UK and beyond. This battle brought in to focus the fact that landscapes matter to everyone, not just those who own land; it highlighted the incredible natural resources of the Lake District but also its vulnerability and sensitivity.

This proposal once again brings these issues in to focus albeit in a thoroughly modern context.
 
Further information can be found on the company’s website www.treetoptrek.co.uk/Thirlmere  where you can also submit feedback to the developer during this consultation phase prior to submission of a planning application.

The developer will also be holding a drop in session for the public on August 1st 2017 from 3pm -7pm at Thirlmere Recreational Hall. We would urge any members who are interested and who can attend to do so as this will be a good opportunity to see the plans in a greater level of detail and give your feedback to the developers.

We would stress that this application has not yet been submitted to the Lake District National Park Authority. We will ensure that you are kept updated on the progression of this application.