Attempt to stop gorge cable car getting off the ground
A number of groups opposed to the proposal to build a cable car in Cheddar Gorge will reveal their ideas for other ways of attracting more visitors when the Somerset Campaign to Protect Rural England holds a meeting in the village next week.
Speakers will include Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Unit, CPRE's national head of planning, National Trust, Keep Cheddar Gorgeous and a representative of the Lower Gorge Regeneration Group, which is part of My Cheddar.
There will be an opportunity for discussion and questions and it is hoped that local people will join in the event as well as invited supporters of CPRE Somerset, a charity with more than 600 members across the county.
The Longleat Group, which owns part of the gorge, has put forward the idea of cable cars, and an educational centre as part of a plan to boost visitor numbers back to the 309,000 who enjoyed its beauty in the 1990s. Numbers had fallen to around 165,000 by 2010.
The public meeting will take place at 1pm next Thursday at St Andrew's Church House, Church Street, Cheddar.
Anyone interested in attending should contact Becky Collier, CPRE Somerset's Administrator, on 0845 269 4206 or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve their place in advance of the meeting.
Chris Lewis, chair of CPRE Somerset, said the organisation had specifically targeted Cheddar this year: "Every year we hold our AGM in a different part of Somerset and try to reflect local issues.
"This year, we felt that the cable car issue was too big to ignore and that is why we have organised this special meeting as part of our AGM.
"Cheddar Gorge is an iconic landscape, considered to be of national significance, and it needs to be very carefully managed.
"We share the view of other organisations, national and local, that the plans for a cable car are flawed and will cause unacceptable disturbance and damage to the upper gorge.
"Of course, Cheddar Gorge has long been a magnet for visitors and we are keen to find new ways of helping people to enjoy this magnificent and wild landscape.
"We accept that some businesses in the lower gorge are struggling and we want to help to find ways of encouraging sustainable tourism which benefits these businesses all year round and does not harm the environment.
"We hope that our meeting will help to create a stronger vision of a more sustainable future for Cheddar Gorge, based on its fantastic landscape and wildlife.
"We would encourage anyone with a concern for Somerset's rural environment to join CPRE and help with our campaigns," he added.