Posted: 23/04/2014 12:03:53 by Nigel Nixon
Hollywood star Warwick Davis is set to show why the Lake District is his ‘favourite place in the world’.

Famed for starring in Star Wars and Harry Potter, the actor and his family spent a weekend camping in Keswick for an episode of ITV’s Weekend Escapes with Warwick Davis.

As a keen ‘staycationer’, Warwick shows his reluctant wife and two children what the British holiday can provide that can’t be found in other parts of the world.

During his trip to the Lake District he tried his hand at Ghyll Scrambling down mountain streams and rocky crevices – even though he cannot swim.



Posted: 27/09/2011 08:27:25 by Nigel Nixon
THE man behind one of Cumbria’s biggest tourist attractions has launched a stinging attack on councillors for blocking his £4 million plan to almost treble its size.

David Gill, who runs the multi -award winning South Lakes Wild Animal Park, at Dalton-in-Furness, has accused Barrow Borough Council of ‘stifling’ entrepreneurial spirit in the Furness area.

He believes his project would – * create 45 new jobs * bring elephants and ‘big cats’ such as jaguars to the park for the first time * improve housing for existing animals * add a children’s farm * revamp visitor facilities, including a large car park and a new steam train to take visitors around the park Mr Gill is frustrated that the council has not ruled on his planning application after a year – although it is minded to reject it.

Now he has asked the Government’s planning inspectorate to intervene and make a decision.

The borough council’s planning committee believes the project would be an over-development of a greenfield site and cause traffic problems for residents of Melton Terrace, off the A590, where the new entrance would be located.

And it says that part of the reason it has taken so long to resolve the matter is because some of the application details were not clear enough.

Mr Gill, 50, who set up the park 17 years ago, said: “I have lived here all my life and these councillors are the most backward-looking people you could come across.

“How a positive project, which would create jobs and bring more people to the area in such desperate economic times as these, could be refused beggars belief.”

He added: “At the moment we have four different car parks and up to 4,000 people a day trying to cross a busy 60mph road to get to the park. With our new plans we could have them all on one piece of land.”

And he warned that the zoo, which is one of Cumbria’s top five visitor attractions, would stagnate if it did not grow.

“In this day and age, if you don’t go forwards you are going backwards.”

The zoo is already home to a variety of animals, including giraffes, rhinos, lions and lemurs and runs two animal conservation charities which aim to protect vulnerable species such as Sumatran tigers.

Mr Gill’s plan has been backed by Cumbria Tourism managing director Ian Stephens, who said: ''The park provides one of many good reasons for visiting the Furness peninsula and has brought important benefits into the area in terms of employment, and tourist expenditure.

“The expansion plans are to be encouraged and have a close fit with the tourism strategy for Cumbria. We're sure that most people will be in favour of bringing increased employment and income to the area and as such we hope that the planning issues can be overcome".

John Millar, chairman of Dalton with Newton Parish Council, which opposed the plans, said councillors were not against expansion or creating jobs but were worried about access.

“We are concerned about traffic flow and the impact this could have on the surrounding rural area,” he said Coun Ann Thomson, chairman of Barrow’s planning committee told the Gazette: “We are not in the business of stifling entrepreneurialism – we wouldn’t dream of doing that.”

She said members had particular concerns that the car park would ‘stand out like a sore thumb’ on the hillside and it was still unclear how it would be masked by landscaping.

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said: “Safety should never be compromised, but I hope these concerns can be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.

“The wildlife park is one of this area’s big-pull attractions with lots of potential to expand and create more jobs in the years ahead.”

The final decision will be made by secretary of state for local government and communities Eric Pickles following advice from the planning inspectorate.

A ruling is likely to be made next spring.


Tagged with: lakeland, park, south, aniaml


Posted: 20/08/2011 11:29:41 by Nigel Nixon

SPACE pirate and alien life forms could soon be seen zooming around the Lake District – thanks to a new million dollar movie.

Old Hutton writer and director Rick McLeod has teamed up with a group of American producers to make a science fiction film based on cult television series Firefly.

The US consortium, one of whom has done sound-tracks for Mr McLeod in the past, originally began filming experimental sequences in county – but then the idea turned into a feature-length film.

Although $1 million is a relatively small budget for a movie, Mr McLeod said he was ‘shocked’ when the group gave the figure.

“Last year was a good one for us – we’re still reeling from that – so when they approached me my first question was ‘Are you serious?’

“It’s not easy to make films in Cumbria, especially with the UK Film Council gone. When we had Leslie Grantham here, he was unpaid because he loved the script.

“It’s great to know that our hard work is starting to pay off.”

The film, called Lost Transmission, follows the lonely adventure of Blake, captain of a mining ship, with no-one but his computer to talk to after war breaks out on Earth. But he leaves the planet to find life on other worlds.

Filming is expected to start in early 2012, and will be split between Cumbria and America.

CGI effects are already being worked on by the studio, which created a castle in the middle of Windermere in a previous flick.

Before filming begins in earnest, Mr McLeod is shooting a short promotional video with action sequences in Old Hutton.

And he is looking for ‘23rd century pirates’ to star as extras in a fight scene on Sunday, to be led by a trained fight choreographer.

“We’re seeking punks, goths and heavy rockers. Long or short hair, tattoos and piercings are a bonus but not essential. The more outrageous the look the better,” said Mr McLeod.

Filming will last for between two and three hours and anyone interested can email celticstormfilms@live.com.

Participants are requested to send a head shot with their email.

Discussions with actors to play the role of Blake are still going on.

Tagged with: Film, Lake, Move, district


Posted: 26/06/2011 13:02:46 by Nigel Nixon

Next generation of reactors will be built at Sellafield and Heysham, the Government announced today as it pushes ahead with plans for new nuclear power plants.

In the first major announcement on the future of nuclear in the UK since the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the Government outlined the locations deemed suitable for new power stations by 2025, all of which are adjacent to existing nuclear sites.

The eight sites are: Bradwell, Essex; Hartlepool; Heysham, Lancashire; Hinkley Point, Somerset; Oldbury, South Gloucestershire; Sellafield, Cumbria; Sizewell, Suffolk; and Wylfa, Anglesey.

The plans for new nuclear power plants are part of a series of national policy statements on energy which were published today, following a public consultation.

They will be debated and voted on in Parliament, but ministers are hopeful that, with a pro-nuclear majority in the Commons, they will win the argument.

Nuclear power is one of the issues that divided Conservatives and Liberal Democrats when they entered Government together, with the coalition deal allowing a Lib Dem spokesman to speak out against any new nuclear plants, while Lib Dem MPs could abstain on the issue.

Lib Dem Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has since given his backing to new reactors, insisting they would not be subsidised by the taxpayer - although MPs have warned that reform of the electricity market could favour nuclear power and amount to a hidden subsidy.

The Government is planning the new suite of reactors to maintain electricity supplies and cut greenhouse gas emissions as an old generation of power stations is shut down.

The future of nuclear as a power source for countries around the world was called into question earlier this year after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami rocked the reactors at Fukushima, leaving radioactivity leaking from the plant.

Mr Huhne signalled last month that plans for new reactors in the UK were on track after an initial report on Fukushima from nuclear chief inspector Mike Weightman ruled out the need to curtail the operation of nuclear power stations in the UK in light of the situation in Japan.

The energy policy statements aim to provide a framework for making planning decisions so projects do not face "unnecessary hold-ups".

They set out the need for billions of pounds of investment in new energy sources, including 33 gigawatts of renewable power - the equivalent of thousands of offshore wind turbines - to meet the UK's future needs.

Energy minister Charles Hendry said: "Around a quarter of the UK's generating capacity is due to close by the end of this decade. We need to replace this with secure, low carbon, affordable energy.

"This will require over £100 billion worth of investment in electricity generation alone.

"This means twice as much investment in energy infrastructure in this decade as was achieved in the last decade.

"Industry needs as much certainty as possible to make such big investments.

"These plans set out our energy need to help guide the planning process, so that if acceptable proposals come forward in appropriate places, they will not face unnecessary hold-ups."

He said the coalition Government was determined to make the UK attractive to investors to ensure that the country had secure, affordable, low-carbon energy.

Tagged with: Lake, Nuclear, Sellafield, district


Posted: 15/04/2011 16:22:11 by Anne-Marie O'Neill

THE Bassenthwaite Ospreys have moved home to live in marshes nearer to Bassenthwaite Lake.

After successfully nesting at their treetop summer home at Dodd Wood since 2008, the pair decided it was time for a change and have been gradually building a new nest since returning from their wintering grounds in West Africa.

Fortunately, the new site is visible from the Dodd Wood viewpoint so visitors can still enjoy watching the birds of prey this season.

Ospreys are normally faithful to successful nest sites, so the move was a bit of a shock for staff at the Lake District Osprey Project (LDOP). This is only the second time staff have seen the ospreys change nest in the project’s 11-year history.

Nathan Fox of the RSPB’s Lake District Osprey Project, said: ‘It has been an interesting and exciting start to the season, with the birds deciding to move. We have been working closely with local landowners and farmers to make sure that the birds are fully protected and therefore have a good chance of raising their chicks.”



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