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We fear that the review of the Local Plan for the Lake District National Park may result in an intensification of activities which are alien to the environment. The society has expressed these views in its response to the consultation on the plan.
Says one of our case officers, Nicola Hodgson: ‘This is a unique area which has recently been awarded World Heritage Site designation, and it is also a vibrant, living and working, local community. There is an opportunity to align these individual qualities but it appears at present that the review misses the mark.
‘While we welcome the review and support the policy in relation to the national and international significance of the Lake District, we consider that the priorities of the plan appear to favour developing the area for tourism — including allowing additional activities which may conflict directly with the historic and significant Sandford principle. This says that when there is a conflict between conservation of the natural environment and promotion of recreational activities, conservation must prevail.’
Adds Ian Brodie, one of our spokespeople in the Lake District: ‘The consultation on the local plan review is a recipe for turning the Lake District into a tourist resort at the expense of the World Heritage Site and national park status. It is time for the Lake District National Park Authority to give the area the full protection it so desperately needs.’
The society is concerned that the proposed ‘Showcase Areas’ will be expected to bring an intensification of tourism to parts of the Lake District which have in the past been recognised as more remote and tranquil. Loss of tranquillity could threaten the area’s status as a national park and as a World Heritage Site.
In addition, the size of some of the proposed site allocations, and the fact that development may be on greenfield sites, is troubling because of the damage they will do to the landscape and character of towns and villages in the Lake District.
Consultation on the Lake District National Park Authority’s Local Plan review closed on 29 June.