Town & Country
LAST month, after a seven-year fight and despite heavy opposition, planning permission was granted to Honister Slate Mine for a 1km-long (two-thirds of a mile) zip wire to be installed on a remote mountain pass between Borrowdale and Buttermere in the Lake District (above). Some fear this sets a ‘dangerous precedent’ for similar projects all over the country and, now, the CPRE is urging the Government to review the decision.
‘Activities that introduce such noise, speed and intrusive development are at odds with the character and true value of the national park,’ comments Tom Fyans, director of policy at the CPRE. Also in opposition are the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, The Wainwright Society and the Open Spaces Society.
‘Even if the proposal could be considered to fulfil the requirement for conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage, this cannot be at the expense of the conservation and enhancement of natural beauty,’ comments a Friends of the Lake District spokesperson.
However, the former vice-president of the Friends group, mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington, who resigned over the opposition to the scheme, is in favour, saying that ‘it will be below the skyline and will encourage the public to enjoy the beauty of the lakes’.
The Lake District National Park Authority’s development committee has reasoned that the landscape is already industrialised because of the Honister Slate Mine (the last working slate mine in England) and that, as well as giving up to 57 people a day a thrill, the Aerial Flight zip line will be used to carry slate down to workshops from the mountainside and provide jobs. In any case, walkers ‘wouldn’t necessarily be looking for tranquillity in a mine’, adds committee member Bill Jefferson. After a letter from a National Portrait Gallery curator was published in
COUNTRY LIFE (September 30, 2015), the owners of Margaret Gainsborough, The Artist’s Daughter, Playing a Cittern got in touch. The painting’s whereabouts had been unknown for more than 130 years; it’s now in the ‘Gainsborough’s Family Album’ exhibition (until February 3, 2019). Visit www.countrylife.co.uk