11 October 2019
Richard Leafe, Chief Executive of the Lake District National Park Authority said:
“We are extremely disappointed by Keswick Town Council’s decision to undertake this process.
“We have held many community consultation events, written more than 50 regular media and email updates and undergone thorough planning and grant awarding processes. We have listened to users from the start of this project and will continue to do so. All of this has led to the successful start of work to rebuild the track, repair and replace damaged bridges and reopen a tunnel.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a route that is truly accessible for all, be they people with limited mobility, young children, cyclists both traditional and electric, runners or walkers. The National Park is for everyone in society and we must provide for that.
“Our management plan for the National Park balances both conserving the natural environment with supporting changes needed to create vibrant communities and world class visitor experiences, upon which much of the local economy depends, such as the Keswick railway trail. We work hard to support these changes, through our open and transparent processes and ways of working with communities and organisations who help look after this special place.
“While the railway trail does run through a rural landscape, the route followed is man-made, with a clear transport related history; being an old railway line. The use of tarmac wouldn’t be appropriate on the majority of trails in the National Park, but with our changing public needs and climate, the use of a tarmac surface was considered appropriate in the locality and the project was given planning permission.
We will continue to work with all involved to reconnect this important route for all to enjoy.”
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