Lord Clark of Windermere gave a rousing speech at our recent Annual General Meeting in which he accused the Lake District National Park Authority of “not being prepared in any way to stand up for local people”.

He addressed a mixture of our members and supporters from Cumbria and around the UK who attended our meeting in Grasmere on Saturday 30th June. He went on to voice his concerns over lost services for local people in tourist hotspots and the lack of sustainable transport options.

Lord Clark, who was Chair of the Lake District National Park Partnership until recently added, “World Heritage Status is seen by many influential people in the national park as an opportunity, not to keep the area beautiful, but to make money. And I think that is a real, real problem.”

In conclusion he told the audience,

“I want people to come to the Lake District, I want people to come and share my love of the beauty and inspiration I get from the landscape.” but added, “The Thirlmere zip wire proposition got home to me the struggle we are going to have in the months and years to come. We must be vigilant.”

Lord Clark’s comments echo statements made recently by Friends of the Lake District following the publication of the Lake District National Park’s Local Plan Review document. The Plan will shape the National Park for the next 15 years, setting out how a planning authority, in this case the Lake District National Park, behaves.

Douglas Chalmers, Chief Executive, Friends of the Lake District,

“The Lake District National Park Authority’s Local Plan Review seriously underestimates the needs of local people and of the environment and landscape of the Lake District in its drive to pack yet more visitors into the National Park. 

“We believe that the needs of Lake District residents are being undervalued. The Plan focuses on the visitor economy and bringing an even greater number of tourists to the Lake District.”

The meeting also heard from local planning consultant, Nigel McGurk of Erimax Planning who stressed the importance of strong planning and legal controls to protect the National Park.