Penrith’s Beacon Hill could be opened up for more local people to enjoy as part of plans for the future of the town and its landmark.
The Lowther family, owner of the Beacon Hill, want to offer increased access to a significant area of the Beacon. Penrith residents are invited to suggest ideas to broaden access such as including more footpaths, cycle routes and disabled access along with possible leisure facilities such as green gyms or a mountain biking trail, bird watching hides etc.
The idea has been put forward by the family in support of a Penrith Masterplan being finalised by Eden District Council which will be put out for public discussion in the Autumn. The Masterplan will set out how Penrith can increase its working age population over the next three decades, with 5,500 new homes in three new villages to the north west of Penrith and thousands more jobs.
The plans have yet to be published, but Eden District Council’s Leader, Kevin Beaty has responded to concerns raised about the Beacon’s future.
“When the Masterplan is published Penrith residents will see that not it not only sets out an exciting plan to bring high value jobs to the area, but has protection of the environment at its heart, he said.
“The Beacon is a historic and loved part of Penrith and in the Masterplan we are very keen to protect its iconic status and create a Country Park,” he said, adding: “Lowther Estates have offered to allow a very significant area to be used by the people of Penrith and as part of this discussion we would like to hear views on what you would like to see happen on the Beacon once the public have more access. We look forward to listening to people’s views about the future of the Beacon as part of the community engagement exercise for the Masterplan in the Autumn.
“A walk or trip up to the Beacon could become a visitor attraction to draw more people to Penrith if access was improved,” said Councillor Beaty.
Lowther Estates' Property Director, David Bliss said he hoped the Masterplan would allow a wide range of views to be heard so that “we can look at the Beacon’s future once and look at it properly” and allow for much greater use and access of the landmark and its fantastic views into the Lakes.
Stressing that much of the Beacon was already commercial woodland, David Bliss said: “We hope the Beacon can be a country park area for Penrith and give a wider range of people access to green space.
“We’ve always been very happy granting permissive access up to the Beacon for all to enjoy and it is used and enjoyed by a lot of people.
“Quite understandably everyone is very fond of it and we want to improve access whether that is disabled access, pushchair friendly routes – we’re happy to look at all the options. We want to have a dialogue with people.”
The Lowther family are seeking to create some very modest, low density development at the back of the Beacon.
David Bliss said: “We are very excited by the Penrith Masterplan and want to be part of that. We think Penrith needs new industrial areas, higher paid jobs and obviously housing for the younger generation.
“We want to be part of that and if the Beacon can be the country park area that gives people green space, all we are ask for is some light mixed use at the back of the Beacon where it will be less visible.”
David Bliss said that the Lowther family had created a wonderful environment on the Beacon and wanted to protect that and work with local people to discuss their concerns.