A MAN who discovered a 48-year-old bar of Kendal Mint Cake in his loft believes it may be the oldest-surviving bar of the famous confectionery.
Peter Truelove, 68, of Windermere, bought the bar of Robert Wiper’s Original Mint Cake when he and a friend visited Kendal as 21-year-olds in 1964.
The pair were on a ‘boy’s adventure’ which took them from their homes in Kent to John O’Groats, the most northerly point on the Scottish mainland.
“We travelled the distance in an Austin 7 and it took us a week,” said Mr Truelove, of Hill Top. “The car only did 35mph at best and it was blizzard weather – the snow was coming into the car.
“We called at Kendal on the way back and we’d heard about the mint cake, so when we saw some we thought we’d buy a bar.”
Mr Truelove said he was not sure why he had kept the bar in a box in his loft.
“It was on a shelf as a memento of the trip but it’s been in the loft since we moved to Windermere 16 years ago,” he said. The bar is still in reasonable condition although some of the sugar is seeping through the wrapping.
Although the original Wipers recipe is still used, the company was sold to Romneys in 1987.
Managing director John Barron said: “We have been making it all these years and I don’t think we have any that old – it’s impressive.
“It wouldn’t do him any harm to eat it now but I don’t expect it would taste very nice.”
Mr Truelove said what was also interesting to discover was the journal he wrote while travelling, which documented the stop-off in Kendal. He said: “I had to record everything we spent because my friend and I were splitting the cost of the trip. It’s funny now to look back and see that someone offered to sell us a car engine and gear box for £2.50, and that 15 litres of petrol was 60p.
“Unfortunately, the price of the mint cake wasn’t included, although I did write that we’d visited and purchased it.”
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.