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Honister zip wire plan turned down again

Posted 10 January 2013
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Honister zip wire plan turned down again
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Plans for a zip wire above the Honister Slate Mine have been turned down for a second time.

The saga took a new twist before Christmas when the mine owners announced they were submitting a revised application for the planned wire, which would have descended from Fleetwith Pike.

Conservation group Friends of the Lake District (FLD) had been opposed to the original application on the grounds that it would harm the landscape and disturb those who want to go walking in the area, including those on a route to Haystacks, Alfred Wainwright's favourite fell.

The mine disputed this was the case, but after the first application failed, the second bid for a shorter wire has followed, with national park planners voting 7-4 against it.

Responding to the news, FLD said: "We are pleased that the Lake District National Park Authority members agreed that the scale of this proposal in this location was inappropriate and the open fell should remain free from man-made developments, protected for everyone's benefit."

It argued the best location for a zip wire is in a forest, rather than on a mountainside.

However, not everyone at FLD was happy with the decision. Its vice-president, mountaineer Chris Bonington, has been a staunch supporter of the zip wire, arguing that it emphasises the needs and desires of future visitors, rather than those in the past.

He has reportedly quit from FLD, with the Guardian quoting him as saying the organisation's position is "completely out of keeping with the interests of the national park", adding: "Therefore I have decided to resign my position."

The zip wire plan was originally conceived by Mark Weir, the late owner of the mine who was tragically killed in a helicopter crash near Honister in 2011.

Bosses at the mine had vowed to name the new facility 'the zip Weir' in his honour.