Zip-wire Lake District attraction tipped for approval
Burlington Stone and Zip World’s pitch for a zip-wire tourist attraction at Elterwater Quarry has earned a planning officer’s seal of approval – despite more than a thousand objections.
Lake District National Park councillors will have the final say at the area’s development control committee meeting on Wednesday.
The planning application submitted by Stephenson Halliday, describes the proposed Elterwater Quarry attraction as a “heritage-based adventure through the caverns” that would “offer a unique immersive experience within an underground mine that dates back to the middle of the 19th century”.
The Elterwater Experience would accomplish this by providing a zip-wire “in-cavern explorer route”. Former saw sheds would also be converted into a visitor building, under the designs by Dewis Architecture. An outdoor heritage interpretation area is planned, as is a permissive path in the quarry to a panoramic viewpoint.
The application also includes 36 car parking spaces, three bus bays, and 10 indoor e-bike charging stations.
Burlington Stone estimates that between 40,000 and 50,000 people would visit the Elterwater Experience each year.
While Lake District National Park planning officers are in favour of the scheme, Lakes Parish Council is not. The council has asked for the project to be refused because of concerns over traffic and road infrastructure. The Local Highway Authority did not have any qualms with the traffic plan.
UNESCO’s advisory body, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, has also issued its own objections. The group wrote that the attraction could divert attention from understanding the national park’s landscape. In its objection, the International Council on Monuments and Sites wrote that the application would “transform part of the quarry into a theme park, threatening to trivialise the experience of an important aspect of the historic heritage of the Lake District, and one of its attributes”.
Around 1,393 objections have also been received from members of the public. The council had received four notices of support from the public.
However, the planning officer noted that the scheme was “acceptable as a matter of principle”, complied with policy, and that its transport plan for the scheme had secured approval from the Local Highway Authority. The officer also wrote that they did not consider that the project would have a harmful impact on the landscape or character of the area.
Allen Gibb, chief executive of Burlington Slate parent company Holker Group, said: “We’re applying for permission to develop an active, educational heritage asset that will be almost fully enclosed inside the caverns at Elterwater. This is a unique geological asset and this experience could not be created anywhere else.
“While Burlington Stone has permission to continue quarrying on site until 2040, they’re bringing forward these plans alongside the ongoing quarrying work to help reinvent the site in a genuinely sustainable and responsible way that also preserves its rich history,” he continued.
“Officers at the Lake District National Park Authority share our vision, and have recommended our plans for approval in their recent report and we hope to be able to move forward with our plans in the near future.”
You can learn more about the project by searching 7/2023/5012 on the Lake District National Park planning portal. The project team includes Curtins and BSG.