Unwelcome development on Lake District common

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The Lowther Estate wants to develop White Moss Common next to the A591 between Rydal Water and Grasmere in the Lake District National Park.

White Moss Common 2

The estate proposes to create a visitor centre and hierarchy of routes at the existing car-park and has submitted a planning application to the Lake District National Park Authority (ref 7/2014/5399). The society and the Friends of the Lake District are among the objectors.

We are dismayed that the Lowther Estate seems not to recognise that this is registered common land and that any works here require, in addition to planning consent, the approval of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006. The fact that it is registered common appears not to be mentioned in the documentation: a gross oversight.

As this is in the former Lakes Urban District, the public has a right to walk and ride over the whole common, under section 193 of the Law of Property Act 1925.

We see no need for the development of visitor facilities in this attractive, quiet location. The proposed building, euphemistically called a ‘Welcome Hub’, would be an ugly intrusion in this wild landscape. It appears to be primarily a money-earner for the estate. The proposed visitor facilities, including bike hire and event venue, are totally inappropriate here and would generate much additional traffic.

We believe that this suburban development would conflict with the first national park purpose, to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the park, and we do not believe it complies with the second purpose, to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the park’s special qualities.

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