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Weather boosts Lake District tourism

Tourist businesses say they're enjoying one of the best Easter weekends they've had for many years.

The good weather has brought visitors in large numbers to the Lake District and other attractions in the region.

Last year was very cold whereas this year it's nice and sunny. Much different to last year. Passenger figures are way up on last year. Our larger vessels have had 8 trips a day with around 400 people on each. It's been the busiest weekend we've known for a long time here. "

– John Woodburn, Windermere Lake Cruises

New floating jetty for Windermere's eastern shore

Windermere's new jetty Credit: ITV Border

The new jetty is on the eastern side of Windermere and it's hoped its addition will increase tourism in that area.

Private boats can drop off at it for free. Windermere Lake Cruises will operate a bike boat from Brockhole Visitor Centre from May with a request stop on its other services.

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Windermere's new floating jetty

Windermere has a new floating jetty. It has been towed up the length of the lake to its new home at Bark Barn on the eastern shore.

"To start with I don't think the numbers will be enormous so it won't be a commercial proposition but we hope that this is a long-term investment that in due course will benefit tourism for the South Lakeland area."

– Emma Moody, Go Lakes Travel

It has been paid for by the Go Lakes Travel in the hope it will bring more tourists to the quieter side of the lake.

Private boats can drop off at it for free. Windermere Lake Cruises will operate a bike boat from Brockhole Visitor Centre from May with a request stop on its other services.

Tourism funding for West Cumbria cut

Funding to support tourism in West Cumbria has been cut, and there's a warning the area may suffer as result.

In the past, tourism has benefitted from nearly half a million pounds in funding from Britain's Energy Coast.

That grant is now being stopped, though the organisation insists it will continue to invest in West Cumbria. Paul Crone has the story.

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Business Improvement District in Kendal

Shops on Highgate in Kendal would be included in the Business Improvement District. Credit: ITV News Border

Next Friday shop owners in Kendal will decide if they want to have an organisation that works to make business better.

If businesses vote yes, they'll pay 1% of the value of their property to the Business Improvement District (BID) for the next five years.

The scheme is aimed at raising over £150,000 a year.

Barry Speak, who owns Robinson's Electric in Kirkland, Kendal, is voting for the BID. He said:

"Many retailers moan about how the Council spends their money, well this is your chance to spend your money as you see fit."

Shops on Highgate in Kendal would be included in the scheme Credit: ITV News Border

Scottish Government will "take responses into account"

"The Scottish Government consulted on the draft Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) earlier this year.

"It included proposals to guide local authorities in the preparation of spatial frameworks for wind energy development.

"We received a large number of responses to the consultation, including many views on onshore wind, and will take these responses into account when we publish the finalised SPP next year."

– Scottish Government spokesman

Astronomer calls on help of First Minister

The park is home to the only publicly accessible, research-grade observatory within a Gold Tier Dark Sky Park in the world.

The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory estimates that it will attract 100,000 visitors each year within five years of being established.

Professor John Brown is the Astronomer Royal for Scotland and he is asking First Minister Alex Salmond to help ensure wind farms are not allowed near the Dark Sky Park:

"Installing any large structures that require illumination would be like putting a factory in Glen Coe.

"Our First Minister was instrumental in helping to secure funding for the observatory and he opened it with much passion and aplomb in October last, praising Scotland for leading the world with this fine public and educational facility.

"But Mr Salmond is also an ardent advocate of wind farms and so faces a dilemma.

"I, for one, would call upon him now to prove his sincere interest in our wild lands and skies by ensuring wind farms and other dark sky contaminants are excluded from the entire Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park.

"This would lay down a benchmark for future decisions on all similar wild land sites where wind farms are wholly inappropriate."

– Professor John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland

To find out more about the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory click here.

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