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New rules could see rundown Cumbrian barns turned into homes

Barns like this one could be turned into homes Credit: ITV News

A Cumbrian environmental group has criticised changes to planning rules that could see redundant barns in the countryside turned into homes.

The concept is currently being consulted on by the Government and is supported by some local councillors.

Under the government's plans barns could be developed without planning permission.

The Friends of the Lake District aren't against them being converted in appropriate parts of the national park but fear that if the rules are relaxed they'll be turned into costly second homes for the wealthy and hundreds of local people will lose out

But the Country Land and Business Association says planning restrictions are stopping local people converting them too and the countryside needs more homes and businesses to improve rural economies.

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Views against Honister Zipwire heard

Campaigners against the introduction of the Honister Zipwire have been expressing their views at the meeting:

"There are other sites in the National Park which can host a zip wire. This is the wrong location."

– Jack Ellerby, Friend of the Lake District

"Many people set off to Wainwright's Haystacks from Honister...in the future they may have to dodge screaming bodies."

– John Bennett, Borrowdale and Buttermere Parish Councils

School children help plant new wood in Cumbria

Children from Castle Park school help plant the wood Credit: Friends of the Lake District

Conservation charity Friends of the Lake District has begun to plant a new wood on their land at the Helm, near Oxenholme, with the help of volunteers of all ages. School children were asked to help with the planting.

Judith Moore from Friends of the Lake District said:

"It is great to see the start of a new wood at the Helm. We’ve had lots of help in getting the trees planted, with groups from Centrica at Barrow, Unity College in Blackpool and Castle Park School, in Kendal helping plant as well as our regular volunteers and local people too."

More than 500 trees have been planted to start the new wood off – with 420 trees donated by the Woodland Trust and 56 more were paid for by people buying tree saplings as gifts.

The trees are a mix of oak, ask, hazel, birch, hawthorn and blackthorn and will be good for wildlife.

As part of the new wood, some sycamore trees will be felled, as there are too many. They'll be removed using a horse, a traditional method that is less damaging to the ground than machinery.

This is the first phase of the project, 500 trees will be planted over winter for the next two years.