Battle to save South Cumbrian ‘paradise’ intensifies

The battle to save a slice of South Cumbrian paradise has intensified this week.

Protestors against plans to create an £100 million holiday resort at Roanhead near Askam-in-Furness have released a campaign video.

Meanwhile the developers have created their own video, talking to residents who back the plans.

A planning application has been lodged for the Roanhead Lodge Resort Development, owned by brothers Terry and Jimmy Curtis, 78 and 76. Terry hopes to continue to live at the farm with his wife after the resort is operational.

People against the plans have formed the Save Roanhead campaign group.

Clive Welch, of Save Roanhead, said: “We’ve made this video to explain a little bit more about the threat facing Roanhead but mostly to share stories about why the place is so important to local people.

“It’s important as a place for quiet reflection, family fun and as a haven for already endangered wildlife. With current visitor numbers it can cope with the differing demands we place upon it, but it certainly won’t when you add an extra 2,000 people per week.”

The group’s Julie Alexander added: “There’s so much local resistance to the plans, we won’t allow the developers to destroy Roanhead, they can’t pave our paradise.”

But the brothers say the resort would provide a much-needed boost into the local economy. UK economic development firm Hatch projects the resort could generate a net impact of £59.1 million from direct employment to the area over the next 10 years.

In a release sent out by the brothers, Mark Sedgwick, who has lived in Askam for 33 years and has a nearby smallholding, said: “In all the time I’ve lived here we’ve watched many local services and all but one of the pubs disappear. They’ve been lost. And this is the same for Barrow.

“This development has the potential to change that – to bring people here who will enjoy what the resort and this area has to offer but who will also spend money here.

“Access will be created so that we don’t have extra cars coming through the village, but we’ll benefit from visitors being able to walk in.”

Fellow Askam resident Ray Fallows added: “New jobs, extra spending. This could be a lifeline, particularly in the way this development is being proposed.”

The developers said the resort would operate in line with principles of low carbon and sustainability and would secure a substantial biodiversity net gain.

The traditional farm buildings would become the visitor hub providing leisure, wellness and spa facilities as well as a brasserie and bar – all open to local people and a training academy would offer apprenticeship opportunities for young people across a range of disciplines.

Access to the site for both guests, staff and services would ensure vehicles travelling into or away from the resort would not go through Askam or any other nearby villages, the release added.

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