Statement from Honister Slate Mine on the Aerial Flight Planning Application Decision

Today the planning committee of the Lake District National Park Authority has given officers delegated approval to agree Honister Slate Mine’s Aerial Flight – subject to conditions. The 10-member planning committee voted 7-3 in favour.

Joe Weir, Co-Owner Honister says, “We are over the moon that the Aerial Flight has been approved, subject to conditions. It’s been a long process, we lodged the first proposal nearly a decade ago. I would like to commend the development control members as they clearly studied the proposal in depth and appreciated the benefits, not just for tourism but for industry and the wider community.

We know what it means for the people who work here now, and I can only imagine how proud our ancestors would be. They’d have appreciated seeing new technology being used to bring slate out more efficiently, and most of all, that we are keeping the mine alive and providing additional year round employment.
The Aerial Flight will follow the path of old industrial workings which were in use up until 1926 transporting slate along the side of Fleetwith Pike via an aerial wire. The modern version will have the dual purpose of outdoor adventure and industry; offering an adrenaline fuelled descent for people climbing the Via Ferrata and providing a financially viable way to bring walling slate, piled up by previous generations of miners in the tunnels, down the mountain. This type of slate is scarce within the Lake District National Park with architects, builders and developers keen to keep the traditional look of the area, and we have tonnes of it sitting in tunnels ready to be brought down the mountain.”

Jan Wilkinson, Co-Owner Honister says “This is a big day for us, the Aerial Flight development is vital to the survival of Honister. It’s important because of what it represents, in the context of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Cultural Landscape. It is deeply connected to the heritage of the mine, whilst also being innovative and forward looking. By supporting the two interconnected sides of our business, we can ensure there is a resilient business model that will stand the test of time.

We need to make sure we are investing in the future to ensure the next generation can live, work and bring up their families in the area.
We are committed to opening up the landscape for all to enjoy. In these plans we have included a second section of wire with accessible features to enable people in wheelchairs or with limited mobility, the chance to experience the thrill of outdoor adventure.

We have a role as guardians of this special landscape and I believe that by creating life enhancing experiences for everyone to enjoy at any age, we are helping to develop a love and understanding of the special qualities of the national park we are privileged to call home.

The combination of supporting tourism, education and industry to provide a long-lasting benefit for people living, working and visiting the Lake District is why we have battled for over a decade to get the Aerial Flight approved.”

Please see below update from Lake District National Park:

Dual purpose aerial wire for extraction of stone and tourism use, Honister – Update 6

Development Management Update: 8 November 2018

We received a planning application for ‘Dual purpose aerial wire for extraction of stone and tourism use’ at Honister. The application can be viewed on our website: www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/planningsearch using reference number is 7/2018/2011.

Development Control Committee meeting on 7 November 2018

The Development Control Committee considered the report from the Head of Development Management including the representations of both those objecting to and supporting the application together with the updates provided by the case planner as part of his presentation.

Committee members considered and debated the application thoroughly and decided by a majority vote to delegate authority to the Head of Development Management to approve the application subject to appropriate conditions for the following reasons:

 The principle of the proposed development at the established business is consistent with development plan policies for the open countryside as well as local and national policies for the support of businesses in rural areas

 Subject to the completion of an appropriate assessment and preparing planning conditions there is a strong likelihood that nature conservation would not be a reason for the refusal of planning permission (reason for refusal 2 as stated in the report)

 The proposals would result in significantly lower landscape and visual effects as a consequence of the use of the wire and associated activity than stated in the report particularly as the landscape character is influenced by existing mining and tourism activity

 It is appropriate to balance the landscape and visual effects arising from the proposals and the public benefits of them to reach a decision

 In this case the identified landscape and visual effects are outweighed by the benefits
o for visitors, in particular disabled people and young people o to the slate extraction and tourism business at Honister o by supporting the local economy o supplying traditional building stone for the benefit of the built heritage of the Lake District o as a continuation of local industrial heritage

 Subject to appropriate planning conditions the proposals are acceptable in accordance with terms of relevant development plan policies, material planning considerations and the National Planning Policy Framework relating to the Lake District National Park and the English Lake District World Heritage Site and would not harm the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site

What happens next?

The committee has decided that planning permission should be granted subject to conditions.

The case planner will complete an appropriate assessment of the nature conservation implications of the proposals and prepare planning conditions. When this work is complete a decision will be taken by the Head of Development Management acting under the authority granted by the Development Control Committee and a formal notice issued granting planning permission. This process may take several weeks.

Development Management Lake District National Park Authority

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