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Say No To The Lowthers Says Open Spaces Society

March 20, 2015



The Open Spaces Society,(1) Britain’s leading pressure-group for common land,(2) has objected to renewed plans by the Lowther Estate to develop White Moss Common next to the A591 between Rydal Water and Grasmere in the Lake District National Park.

Last year the estate applied for a visitor centre and hierarchy of routes at the existing car-park but the Lake District National Park Authority’s members rejected the plans, overturning the advice of their officers.

Now, Jim Lowther, brother of the eighth Earl of Lonsdale who is custodian of the family’s 117-square-mile estate, is trying again to win this development.

Says Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society: ‘This application is very similar to the one which was rejected by the authority last November. It is still proposed to take registered common land, a special type of land on which the public has rights of walk and ride. This means that the works would need, 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.

‘There is no need to develop 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.

‘The 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.

‘There is no reason why the authority should vote differently this time. It should say a resounding “no” to Jim Lowther,’ says Kate.
Notes for editors
1 The Open Spaces Society was founded in 1865 and is Britain’s oldest national conservation body. It campaigns to protect common land, village greens, open spaces and public paths, and people’s right to enjoy them, throughout England and Wales.

2. Common is land subject to rights of common, to graze animals or collect wood for instance, or waste land of the manor not subject to rights. The public has the right to walk on all commons and to ride on some, such as White Moss Common. Before any works can be constructed on common land the applicant must obtain the consent of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (via the Planning Inspectorate) under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006, in addition to any planning permission.

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