Cycle hire scheme to open near Rudyard Lake
A CYCLE hire business is to open at a beauty spot – despite objections from a conservation group.
The Rudyard Lake Trust opposed a proposal to put up a wooden cabin to house the business at the northern area of the lake.
The trust, along with the Rudyard Lake League of Friends, said the cycle hire scheme at Barnswood Farm, in Rushton Spencer, would be an unwelcome development in the tranquil area.
But planning officers at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council said they could find no reason to reject the proposal.
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Speaking at a meeting of the council’s planning committee, Ray Perry, chairman of the Rudyard Lake Trust, said: “The lake has been discovered by many people, and the infrastructure is stretched to capacity at the southern end of the lake.
“To support development at the northern end of the lake would be defeating our objective. Some lake users do not seek the usual tourist actions but prefer a peaceful environment.”
Planning officer Mike Green advised the committee to approve the proposal.
He said: “This is a relatively small scale application. Cycling is an acceptable activity in the greenbelt, and this is an acknowledged area for tourism and recreation. The development is visually acceptable for this countryside area. There is no substantive reason to refuse it.”
But some members raised concerns about the proposal.
Margaret Lovatt, councillor for Leek North, said: “I would not like to encourage more cycle use here. It’s a short track and used by walkers, families with pushchairs and young children. When I’m walking there I feel threatened by having to be aware of cycles coming from behind me.” Mike Worthington, councillor for Cheddleton, said: “To get to this you need a car. It’s hardly conducive to encouraging people to come to this side of the lake.
“There’s no business plan submitted. I can’t see it being viable.”
Councillor Ron Locker, who represents Cheadle West, said: “The northern part of the lake is very important for ecology.
“It’s an idyllic place for wildlife and if we encourage commercial enterprise there we are going to encourage more people, more cars, and more noise.”
But despite the concerns, members agreed there were no ‘planning reasons’ to refuse the application, and voted to pass it.
Stephen Ellis, Conservative councillor for Cheadle West, said: “I can’t see anything wrong with it. It’s a temporary structure.
“Why wouldn’t people want to cycle along Rudyard Lake? I think it’s fantastic.”