Weekender: Cumbria Chamber backs Thirlmere zip wire

Rob Johnston

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce is backing proposals for a zip wire adrenalin attraction at Thirlmere.

The £1.8m scheme would see two sets of four-lane wires across the lake, up to 130m above ground, allowing riders to travel at speeds of up to 50mph. It would also create a family-friendly continuous cycle route around the lake.

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce has written to the Lake District National Park Authority expressing support for Treetop Trek’s planning application.

Rob Johnston, the chamber’s chief executive, said: “The economic benefits are likely to be substantial.

“It would create 28 full-time equivalent jobs, attract 127,000 visitors annually and boost GVA by £1.3m, so helping to ‘foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the national park’ – one of the National Park’s stated objectives.

“Interestingly, three zipwires have opened in the Snowdonia National Park in Wales since 2013 under the Zip World brand.

“Their impact has exceeded expectations.

“Research carried out by North Wales Tourism in 2016 found that these attractions had pumped £121m into the local economy and created 218 jobs. Staff were earning at least £9.36 an hour, well above the Living Wage.

“The average spend by visitors using the zip wires was £251-£500, with one-in-10 spending £1,000 or more on accommodation, meals, shopping and so on.

“Almost three quarters stayed at least one night in North Wales, helping to boost occupancy rates for hotels, B&Bs and campsites. These are the sort of visitors Cumbria needs.

“The Thirlmere zip wire will widen Cumbria’s appeal. The arguments in its favour are compelling and we hope the planners agree.”

The National Park Authority will decide if the plan can go ahead. It invited public comments on the proposal and was swamped with responses prompting it to extend the consultation period until January 12.

The earliest the application can come before the National Park’s development control committee is February 7.