Parking charges planned at Walna Scar

Posted by Peter Burnside on 06/12/2017
Kelly Hall Tarn with the snowy summit of Old Man of Coniston in the back. Photo: Shutterstock / Daniel Kay

Proposed plans to Walna Scar Car Park, the popular outdoor access point, will change it to ‘pay and display’ and make it smaller than what is already available. Find out more about the situation and how to oppose the changes with the click of a button.

A planning application to alter existing parking conditions and create a 58 bay pay and display public car at Walna Scar has been approved and an application has now been made under Section 38 of the Commons Act 2006; the deadline for comments to support or oppose the application under the Commons Act is 14 December.

Walna Scar is an incredibly popular access point to such sites as the Coniston Fells, Dow Crag, and the Old Man of Coniston, among others. The area is designated as Common Land and the current situation is that parking is free while allowing for more than 58 cars to be parked, as well as a number of minibuses used for introducing young people to the outdoors.

Another concern is that, if the planned changes go ahead, it could set a precedent for the multitude of similar situations across the Lake District, potentially paving the way for Pay and Display car parks in the popular tourist hot spots such as Cockley Beck, Wrynose Pass, Hardknott Pass and others.

Rob Dyer, BMC access and conservation officer, said: “It’s a real shame to see Walna Scar Car Park changing into a more formalised pay and display format if the proposal goes through. Increased parking charges at popular access points for the outdoors is affecting more areas across the country. Of course, I have sympathy for the need to maintain these areas and the costs involved, but the outdoors should be made more accessible for people, not more expensive.

“High charges in car parks are a barrier to people being more active outdoors, especially for those that are on lower incomes. As a society we should be making it easier for people so they can experience all the physical and mental benefits being active outdoors provides.

“The proposed car park also has a lower capacity than the current informal situation provides. This creates potential conflict with residents of Coniston who will bear the brunt of those who avoid or can’t pay the charges, or those who are unable to fit into the new car park when it runs out of space.”

Planning permission has already been granted and an application has been made under Section 38 of the Commons Act 2006, which now needs responding to before 14 December.

Send your response before 14 December

Those that would like to oppose the proposed changes, BMC members or anyone else, can directly email the Planning Inspectorate using our email template, available as a download here. Please use this to help write your letter.

Alternatively, those that are short on time can click the red button below to generate an email that links to a download of the template. Remember that you must write your own name at the bottom of the email before sending.

Any representations should be sent in writing by 14 December to Planning Inspectorate, Commons Team, 3F  Temple Quay House, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6PN.

Or by email to commonlandcasework@pins.gsi.gov.uk. These letters cannot be treated as confidential. That will be copied to the applicant and possibly to other interested parties.

In summary: concerns over the proposed changes to Walna Scar Car Park

  • RHF Le Fleming ( Rydal Estate) have applied to the Secretary of State for Environment,Food, and Rural Affairs for consent under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006 to carry out restricted works on the area locally known as Fell Gate, or Walna Scar Car Park. The Planning Inspectorate will decide the application on behalf of the Secretary. A ‘pay and display ‘ car park has been applied for with 58 proposed bays.
  • Free parking has happened here since anyone can remember.
  • Popular access point to the Coniston Fells; Dow Crag and The Old Man of Coniston.
  • The proposed car park may have 58 parking bays. On a busy day it would appear that more vehicle parking is currently available.
  • This area is designated as Common Land: this will limit access for many, rather than encouraging it.
  • Concerns have been raised about the times when the proposed car park will be open. 9.00pm has been widely reported as a closing time. During the summer months many runners, climbers and walkers will be out beyond this time. Or winter if Low Water beck is frozen.
  • Coniston residents have rightly raised concerns about the possibility of increased parking pressures on the village. They already experience pressures on the same road leaving Coniston Village.
  • As parking charges rise across the National Park there is a sense that access for all is not being encouraged.
  • Access will be restricted for three months whilst the work is undertaken. 
  • Concern over the amount of designated bays for minibus parking, this area is used by many local outdoor education centres to provide many young people with a real mountain experience and their introduction to the fells.
  • Yet more ‘urbanisation' of the Lake District. Do we really want pay and display machines on the edge of the fells?
  • A general concern over the precedent set: Where next, Cockley Beck, Wrynose Pass, Hardknott Pass?

The Access and Conservation Trust

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By educating climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers to enjoy outdoor recreation while minimising their impact on the landscape, conserving the UK’s upland resources, and campaigning for improved access rights, ACT enables future generations to continue to enjoy outdoor activities and the physical, mental and social benefits they bring to individual lives and society in general.

READ: More about the recent work of ACT

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1) Anonymous User
06/12/2017
As a (relative) local and concerned climber, who would like to see this proposal refused, I feel I need to comment. Please sort out your template - it isn't actually a template, more of a list to consider when stating objections. I worry that many will just cut and paste into an email and ... The template is poor and full of misconceptions: several 'issues' are just incorrect and will give the wrong impression to the Inspector - who is only seeing this application after approval by LDNP because the land is common land.

1) As a climber and walker my 'commoners' right will not be affected... under CROW I have foot access and that won't be affected. I have no commoners rights for vehicular access, so that bullet point is misleading and dilutes the message.
2) The 9pm cut off is a red herring and answered in the proposal. The "charging regime will be effective from 9.00am to 9.00pm every day of the year. This will allow local residents free use of the facilities at the beginning and end of each day. " So clear out of 'hours' access is possible [but no camping allowed].

Has anyone at the BMC actually read the proposals and associated documents on the LDNP website before producing this template?
2) Anonymous User
07/12/2017
The link for Walna Scar objections doesn't seem to work!
3) Alex Messenger (staff comment)
07/12/2017
Thanks for the comment. Local climbers and walkers from the BMC Lakes area raised the issue and after discussion with our access officer and research on the LDNP website, this piece went online. This is an issue being raised by local climbers and walkers. As time was short, we have left people to create their own letters using the template of issues, but if you'd like to suggest any changes to that, please email our access officer Robd@thebmc.co.uk
4) Anonymous User
07/12/2017
I strongly support the idea of regulated parking. I would go further and make it restricted to disabled parking only. Currently, parking is out of control at this point with cars and 4x4s encroaching further and further onto the Fell. It does not restrict access to the fells for walkers at all, park in the village and do the full walk!
5) Anonymous User
07/12/2017
Thank you Alex for coming back on my original post [#1]. I don't know how or if I can do this non-anonymously. My worry was that from posts elsewhere I've seen, comments were made that it was very quick and comments suggested they cut and paste your template into the email to the Inspector rather than use it as an aide-memoire. It would be much better and clearer if you made it clear that people need to personalise their objection... Ian
6) Anonymous User
07/12/2017
As someone that comes to the Lake District and especially Coniston quiet a bit I am finding it really frustrating that every time I stop my car I have to pay for the privilege to spend my money in local businesses. And now they are looking at charging us to park and go for a walk! People will just find alternatives and then upset the locals, I am sure that car park provides a nice car parking buffer for the village currently.
This is about making more money out of visitors, it actually made a refreshing change to get something for free and enjoy a cheap day out in the great outdoors.
7) Anonymous User
08/12/2017
another money making exercise by the council, personally i wouldn't advise anyone to come to the lakes commercialism is killing the area. A world heritage center don't make me laugh. All these objections will be ignored Councillors like politicians are arrogant beyond belief
8) Anonymous User
12/12/2017
It's a real shame that you didn't include a link to or copy of the proposed development. There are many and varied reasons for opposition and you have chosen to engage members only in those that you think relevant and important. Your proposed letter would ideally be written to enable the key matters to be considered rather than imposed on those who you want to engage to support your opposition. It might also be worth engaging a descent word-smith to examine your letter.
I'm highly supportive of the opposition but not of the political battling.
Simon McElroy
9) Anonymous User
12/12/2017
Here's a link to the Development Control Committee Report dated 7th June 2017
http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/959372/2017_06_07-South-Lakeland-Schedule-of-Planning-Applications.pdf

Simon McElroy
10) Anonymous User
14/12/2017
I'd be in favour of parking charges here. The idea that you should be able to store something as large as a car wherever you want for as long as you want and not pay for it is bizare. You raise concerns about the pay machines contributing to the urbanisation of the coutryside, but traffic and car parking are the major cause of that urbanisation. If you want ample free parking I'm sure there's a retail park on the outskirts of Warrington you can go to.

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