“Potential tensions” over mining tourism centre

Date: Wednesday 12th September 2018

A MEETING is to take place tomorrow to discuss plans for a new wet weather tourism centre at Glenridding celebrating Greenside mine.

The mine closed in 1962 after being in operation for around 300 years and at one time employed around 200 people. There is now a movement to celebrate its past by creating a dedicated heritage centre.

Public meetings were held in June and July and research into the proposal has now been published. A meeting for local businesses is to take place on Thursday at the Inn on the Lake between 7pm and 8-30pm.

One of the principal movers in the plans, Tim Clarke, of Glenridding, said: “At the public meeting on 26th July it was felt that it would be helpful to have a special meeting to seek the views of local community entrepreneurs, enterprises and private businesses. They all should have a key say in what goes in to any heritage centre — and what should not.”

Over the summer, research work has been undertaken by the Connected Communities Research Laboratory of Lancaster University. Postgraduate students from the university’s management school have also submitted a feasibility study to Rob Shephard, chairman of Patterdale Parish Council.

The evidence so far suggests that the local community — across all age groups — considers the idea to be of great importance.

It would be a way to preserve the memory of the mine and its role in people’s lives, according to the summary.

However, some “differing viewpoints and potential tensions” have also been raised.

The summary says: “On the one hand, local businesses wish to generate more income, and, on the other hand, many local residents do not want more traffic either on the road leading up to the mine or within the village itself.”

The summary suggests several alternative scenarios for the centre have been suggested to help consider different options. This could include either new heritage attractions at or near the mine, or in Glenridding and Patterdale villages.

Key negative factors for the opening of the mine are the “structural instability” of the mine itself. This would make it “impossible” for visits to it, the summary says.

There are also issues related to access to the mine. The summary adds: “Positive factors include the potential very high throughput of visitors, with an estimated 400,000 visitors passing through Glenridding every year — compared to the relative isolation of virtually all comparable mines in the region.”

Popular options include a community-based project either independently run or in partnership with local businesses and the Lake District National Park Authority.

The summary says: “It is clear from our consultations that the local community and visitors show a real interest in having an innovative and creative facility that is also capable of providing a wet weather opportunity for visitors.”