Elterwater Quarry Burlington Slate c Google Earth

Burlington Stone have partnered with Zip World to regenerate the existing active quarry site and renovate its facilities. Credit: Google Earth.

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.

Your Comments

Read our comments policy

This quarry is a huge open scar and no amount of theme park improvements will change that impact so as to trivialise the historic heritage experience!

By Tom

PNW were there any letters of support received from members of the public?

By Anonymous

    Four letters of support were received. I’ve updated the story to include this detail.

    By Julia Hatmaker

I’m not sure why this is such a controversial proposal – it gives the quarry a second lease of life, requires little in the way of ‘above ground’ structure and will brings in money to the local economy. The estimated 40k – 50k visitors would unlikely to be all solo travellers – maybe instead car occupancy between 2-4 people, spread over a year, is not huge.
I find it interesting that International Council on Monuments and Sites suggest the proposals would transform the quarry into a ‘theme park’, when there is a similar facility (at Penryhn Quarry), in Snowdonia National Park and which is also part of a UNESCO site.

By Vicky

Looks good, very interesting attraction

By Cal

Who knew the general public were so enamoured by quarries

By Anonymous

@Vicky I think the major concern is the number of vehicle movements to and from the site

By Anonymous

Looks like a great idea, what happened to the one planned for the centre of Liverpool?

By Anonymous

One of my first memories of working in Architecture was at Burlington Quarry. As a year out student I worked on a new shop front and fit out for a Jewellers in Blackpool. We went to Burlington to pick out the greenest portions of slate in the quarry for them to extract for us to use as the cladding. A very fond memory. I wonder if the shop front is still there?

By Matt Pickering

Related Articles

Sign up to receive the Place Daily Briefing

Join more than 13,000 property professionals and receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox


Join more than 13,000 property professionals and sign up to receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.