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Tarzan trekking trail plan for Lydiard's trees
Jungle Parc UK is proposing to add another attraction at Lydiard Park, if planning permission is granted. However after objections were received Swindon Council planners are having further discussions with the company before a revised application is submitted.
Liverpool based company Jungle Parc wants to erect 100 tree platforms connected by walkways and zip slides on two courses in the trees opposite the existing large play area, close to the park's playing fields and visitor centre with its cafe.
A children's course would be built at low level, including the first in the country at very low level for two year olds where parents and carers can provide supervision. There will be scope for children with certain levels of disability to enjoy the facility. An adult walkway would be built through the canopy for a high level adventure.
The planning application says: 'The development will not in any way impact on the surrounding environmental area. All our constructions are developed to ensure there are no major environmental impacts and all trees can grow freely. Pathways will be covered in soft bark to decrease erosion and trees will be health checked regularly to ensure our whole area is healthy and safe. All our materials are treated and fit in naturally with the environment.
'No trees will be cut down during the development however we may have to remove some small saplings that obstructing activities these would be no larger the 2cm in diameter. We would also have to remove dead branches that may cause problems with health and safety as the removal of fallen trees that are already littering the area.
'The main trees that will be used are highlighted on the design plans, these trees will not be harmed in anyway and no nails/screws or any other material will enter the tree.'
Jungle Parc say the numbers attracted to the walkways will be limited because places will have to be booked in advance via their web site. The application states, 'our booking facility allows 15 people on each course per hour, this means 30 people per hour at maximum capacity starting at 10am with a slot every hour until last slot beginning at 4pm.
'We are looking at only 6 cars per hour maximum, as each group is on the course for a max time of 2 hours we can see up to 12 cars at anyone time being in the car park.'
The Lydiard Park Action Group has expressed concern about the project. The group successfully argued against a proposal by Hook Street (North) Ltd. and Bovis Homes for 175 homes on the edge of Lydiard Park which resulted in the proposal being turned down by an inspector at a planning appeal in May. In a statement chairman David Barnard said, 'The Lydiard Fields Action Group recently submitted a comment on the planning application for a proposed aerial adventure at Lydiard Park. This could be an exciting addition to the park, which many local people will probably appreciate.
'However, part of the application appeared to impact on one of the major historical views within the park, which was restored and opened up during the Lydiard Park restoration project. The importance of Lydiard Park as a historic asset was noted during the planning inquiry to build on Hook North. This field, together with the rest of the rural landscape surrounding the park, forms part of the park's historic setting. There was much discussion at the hearing of the importance of views into and out of the park.
'We felt we should voice concerns at this stage over the positioning of the play area (not the play area itself), and hopefully we will follow this through at a meeting with the relevant planners. If key historic features within the park itself are undermined, it could at a later date give developers the opportunity to point out and use such discrepancies to their own advantage.'
Councillor Nick Martin, who represents Shaw & Nine Elms, on the edge of the park, says the adventure trail through the trees is not "essential for the success of Lydiard Park."
"Lydiard is already a massive attraction, on a busy weekend there will over 1,000 people enjoying the park from Swindon and a wide radius around the town because of what is already on offer free of charge. I'm concerned about the extra volume of people coming to the park.
"The council would be franchising the site to Jungle Parc. I'm really not convinced that there is any financial benefit to the council which has to be set against the potential damage to the trees."
After receiving objections to a zip slide across the tree lined avenue spoiling the view of Lydiard House from the far side of the park, Swindon Council planners have deferred setting a date for consideration by the borough's planning committee until further discussions take place with Jungle Parc.
To view the planning application search for Application number S/10/1934 at the Swindon Council site.
Jungle Parc currently operate sites in in Irchester & Liverpool. See details at www.jungleparc.co.uk