Acclaimed filmmaker and outdoor photographer Terry Abraham has supported a campaign to say ‘no’ to a countryside tobogganing tourist attraction at Blaze Fell, near Armathwaite in Cumbria’s Eden Valley.
Terry, whose “Life of a Mountain” film trilogy traces the seasons and people of three Lakeland hills, joined some 30 protesters on the Blaze Fell Trail at Nord Vue Farm, where he shared his views. opposites on the proposal.
Landowner Charles Lowther and businessman Daniel Holder of the quiet Watermillock site have asked Eden District Council for the 840-meter concrete toboggan run, chairlift, visitor facilities and the parking of more than 100 vehicles near the top of the drop at 225 meters.
The work of self-taught filmmaker Terry for several years has led him to create outdoor documentary films about the famous mountains of the Lake District – Scafell, Blencathra and more recently Helvellyn. He and his wife moved to live in Eden Valley four years ago.
He says: âThe beauty of Eden Valley never ceases to take my breath away! Why do we need such an attraction when the region IS the attraction?
“Why the need for an attraction in the region of Eden to help disperse the number of visitors to the lakes – as mentioned in the planning proposal – when the attraction of Cumbria is the scenery!”
On his Facebook page, Terry posted: âCumbria’s economy should be rich in diversification, reflecting and protecting what remains of communities and not relying on tourism. Just like many other rural areas or at least strive to do so.
âSo why do you need a toboggan run? On the edge of the Lake District National Park and near an AONB? By communities that will not benefit at all? Up to twenty low-skilled (presumably seasonal) jobs and adjacent to county land and wildlife open access sites? Traffic on secondary roadsâ¦ no realistic benefit for neighboring businesses despite what the proposed plans suggest.
âI passionately think these landowners should convert old homes into small business centers to encourage entrepreneurs, apprenticeships and the like. Connected to decent broadband, etc. allows.
âWhy not convert the properties into something beneficial to the culture and heritage of the region, even as times change, instead of milking the cash cow of ‘overtourism’?
âIt amazes me and many, many others locally that one of the companies involved in these toboggan runs has an award-winning eco-friendly campsite and everything in between near Ullswater!
“Also, the main landowner involved has sought to bring beavers back to Cumbria and other wonderful things on top of that which benefit everyone [including] local communities in a diverse way. ”
The site of the request is in the parish of Lazonby, but a growing number of objectors are coming from the parishes of Hesket and Ainstable.
People from all three parishes attended and spoke at a meeting in Hesket where Councilors David Scurrah and John Dowes spoke out against development.
Cllr Scurrah said that despite what the applicants’ 86-page visual impact document claims, the development would be seen from many parts of the surrounding area.
He said objections from organizations such as Friends of the Lake District and Cumbria Wildlife Trust as well as individuals could not be ignored.
Cllr Dowes said it shouldn’t be on Blaze Fell because he was “completely out of character with the region.”
Three councilors, including President Elaine Martin, abstained from voting, but she used her casting vote to support Lazonby’s objection.
Campaigners recently met with Cumbria County Council to highlight their concerns over increased traffic generated by the proposal that would use “inadequate and potentially dangerous road infrastructure” as well as flooding issues.
The applicants estimate for the number of cars generated by the activity is 256 per day – based on 32 vehicles per hour one way.
Organized by Belinda Quigley, who highlighted the âserious road safety impactâ of the proposed development, the meeting was also attended by Hilary Carrick, member of the Cumbria County Council for Highways, Stuart Taylor, responsible for management Cumbria County Council Flood and Development and Eden Neighborhood Traffic Management Team Leader Laura Mcllellan.
Eden adviser David Ryland of Armathwaite said there had been four recorded deaths at the junction of the Armathwaite road and the A6 in the past 30 years. The villages of Armathwaite, Plumpton and High and Low Hesket feeding the A6 had grown considerably with new real estate developments and more were planned as they were “local centers”.
Those present at the meeting were assured that the traffic assessment carried out by the departmental council as consultant to Eden District would be based on the A6 and all local road networks.
Stuart Taylor said the affordability of necessary road improvements was not an issue. Regarding concerns about flooding at the site, he said a flood risk assessment would be needed.
“Exciting project that ticks all the green boxes”
Speaking to The Cumberland News, Daniel Holder said he had partnered with Michelin-starred hotelier and landowner Charles Lowther to apply for a building permit for a toboggan run in the woods at Nord Vue Farm, Armathwaite.
In line with The Quiet Site’s green credentials, this new tourist attraction will have a strong focus on sustainability. Mr Holder, who has planned this venture for the past five years, said: ‘Fully sustainable attractions in the UK are slim on the pitch, but this one ticks all the green boxes.
“It will be carbon neutral, energy positive, community positive, ecologically positive, zero waste, will have no visual impact and little impact on transport.”
âThe development of a toboggan run in the UK is an exciting project,â said Holder. âIt will be popular both locally and nationally with locals who will benefit from free and discounted initial runs.
“In addition, schools will be offered discounted tours for science classes engaging in subjects such as gravity, friction, kinetic and potential energy.”