Parking solution or unwelcome eyesore? Row breaks out over Lake District car park

Report by Fiona Marley Paterson

A has broken out over the location of a car park set up to try to ease traffic congestion and parking problems in the Lake District.

The landowner says it has given space to hundreds of cars, which may otherwise be blocking narrow lanes. But opponents say it's ripped up a beautiful meadow and claim it's now operating illegally.

But opponents say the car park has ripped up a beautiful meadow and claim it's now operating illegally.

Coniston resident William Watson is opposed to the car park. He said: "There is a parking problem but the solution isn't to build a 250-place parking ride in the middle of the village without planning permission. It's become an eyesore.

"This whole development was initially done under the spurious title of agricultural drainage and when it was completed it looked remarkably like a car park."

Planning permission was actually refused for a car park in the area in 2017. However, it was put in this year thanks to special Covid measures that allowed for popup car parks and campsites for 56 days. But it's now been served three enforcement notices questioning whether this is temporary.

Coniston Central Car Park

There's now a planning application to make it permanent. Planners said there wasn't a need for this car park 4 years ago.

Now businessman Phillip Johnston says there is. He said: "Over 1,200 people have now signed a petition to keep this car park.

"National Park policy - Section 22 - says if they are considering new car parks will only consider them within rural service centres and Coniston is listed as a rural service centre and also listed as somewhere they might consider a new car park."

"I think that it's important that everybody thinks about the result, not the process. And the bigger picture of the Lake District and parking.

"Our roads are clogged with cars looking for somewhere to park and people would park in the residential areas and people in those residential areas now tell us there are no cars parked, they can all park their own cars quite easily in most cases so this car park has alleviated that scenario."

Those against say visitor numbers will likely drop after the pandemic. But the turbo-charged debate on how to accommodate tourists in the Lake District isn't new and isn't going away.

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