Issued 3rd April 2019
Community development charity ACTion with Communities in Cumbria hosted forty community representatives keen to raise questions about the value and impact of World Heritage Status for the Lake District, at a recent debate at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick. Expert panellists took questions from the audience, sparking lively discussion on topics which included increased tourism and traffic, farming sustainably and land-use and a range of planning and development queries.
Chaired by Stephen Henwood, independent Chair of the Lake District National Park Partnership, this was an open discussion touching on the motivations for securing and maintaining this internationally acclaimed designation. Panellists Stephen Ratcliffe from the Lake District National Park, Lorrainne Smyth from ACTion with Communities in Cumbria, Julia Aglionby from the Foundation for Common Land, Douglas Chalmers from Friends of the Lake District and Jennifer Cormack from Windermere Lake Cruises and Cumbria Tourism responded to all the questions presented and have pledged to work with communities to address concerns and maximise benefits.
The discussion was also informed by the results of a recent online survey, part of a programme of community engagement funded by the Lake District Foundation and the RSA to explore community views on Lake District World Heritage Status. Following a series of community conversations, ACT gathered views from over 250 online respondents. Reacting to statements gathered during these conversations;
Fran Richardson, ACT Development Officer, said, “It has been really interesting exploring what matters to Lake District communities - and those outside the Park – using World Heritage Status as a way into conversation. The things people want to talk about are not new. Housing which people can afford to live in, sustainable jobs and transport; the infrastructure which supports those who live and work here, as well as the millions of visitors who come to share our space each year.”
Commenting on the survey results she said, “People are not ‘anti-tourism’ by and large; they are expressing concerns about too many vehicles on roads which cannot cope with ever increasing numbers. The challenge brought to the panel in Keswick was to make sure that the Lake District remains a great place to live, as well as a world class visitor destination. ACT will support anyone taking action to achieve this, at both a practical and a policy level.”
Addressing some of the difficult and long-standing challenges, panellists offered a number of solutions.
For further information please contact ACT firstname.lastname@example.org 01228 817224
Facing the Questions L-R Steve Ratcliffe, Lorrainne Smyth, Julia Aglionby, Stephen Henwood, Jennifer Cormack and Douglas Chalmers at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick.
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