We're a growing community group of like-minded individuals who want to make sure the Beacon is looked after for future generations to enjoy!
Beacon Forest is under development threat again. Consultation started on the 7th January on the independents planning examiner’s draft policy for the Beacon. Included within this, is the development of 20 holiday lodges and associated infrastructure which concerns us. Here is the link to the online consultation form which needs to be completed by February 4th 2022:
Here is the link to what the independent planning examiner is proposing:
Our aim remains, as always, to protect the Beacon forest from development. We feel although the lodges are termed temporary structures, the infrastructure and utilities created for these will be permanent and will impact on the wider forest and its wildlife, so we will be objecting.
We are a community group formed in the summer of 2018 to campaign for the protection of Penrith Beacon and its surrounding woodland. Our aims were drawn up and agreed at a public meeting in the town centre.
The aims of the Friends of Penrith Beacon are:
Beacon Forest is once again under threat of development. The future of the forest is being considered by an independent planning examiner as part of the Penrith Neighbourhood Plan (2019-2032) and he has decided that there should be ‘a bespoke policy’ for the Beacon forest.
Although recently Lowther Estates sought to develop 40 lodges with associated infrastructure, the examiner’s draft report policy suggests that 20 lodges be allowed. He has asked for his draft report to be open to public consultation. This consultation is now running Friday, 7th January until 4th February, 2022 and we need you to participate. You can read his draft report alongside the consultation.
Here is the link to the independent planning examiner’s draft policy for you to see what is being proposed:
Here is the link to the online consultation form, which we would appreciate if as many of you as possible could complete:
It is worth noting, the consultation is fairly open-ended and you can make observations and suggest modifications to the policy, so you don’t have to agree or disagree with entirety of the policy. You might, for instance, like the idea of improved access, but oppose the development of holiday lodges or similar.
We will be objecting to the policy and particularly stressing, that we don’t want any lodges in the Beacon forest. We feel although the lodges are termed temporary structures, the infrastructure and utilities created for these will be permanent and will impact greatly on the wider forest and its wildlife. There will be noise and light pollution which will affect wildlife and the town. The Beacon has been invaluable for the community over the years. The importance of green space and nature, to our physical and mental health is well- documented.
We also feel that the independent examiner’s policy lacks detail. How big an area of the forest would be taken up by this development?
These and many other questions remain unanswered.
As to the many other potential developments listed on this policy, we believe if all of these were to be built on the Beacon, it would again seriously impact the forest environment.
In addition access to the development stated in the examiner’s policy would be via the south east end of the forest, adjacent to the Roundthorn Hotel. This road is very narrow and there is a sharp bend at the presumed access point. The C2C cycling route goes up this road. We fear this could be dangerous, especially as is such a popular walking and cycling route.
Friends of Penrith Beacon’s main aim remains, as always, to protect the Beacon forest from development. If this Beacon development goes ahead, we believe the forest as we know it, will be lost to us forever.
The previous EDC’s proposals in 2018 threatened the Beacon Forest with development, but by working together we were able to show our strength of opposition to this and that plan was scrapped.
Let’s hope, with your support, we can do it again. Please fill in the consultation!
We formed in response to a leaked document to the local press showing Eden District Council's proposed Masterplan. In their Penrith Strategic Masterplan Sept 2018, they stated that the plan would involve three initiatives to secure the future of the Beacon.
Potentially this would have damaged the Beacon's beautiful tranquil woodland, which is home to a varied wildlife flora and fauna (see attached). This woodland has been enjoyed by countless generations.
Even though the timescale to respond to the Masterplan was very limited, we received a huge amount of support in our campaign to protect the Beacon from the above development proposed by EDC.
A paper petition, we organised, gained over 2,600 signatures in a very short time. The petition asked:
‘We, the ‘Friends of Penrith Beacon’, petition Eden District Council to take the necessary action for ALL of the Beacon Forest to remain as it is now, a wild place with no development and accessible to all residents’.
We only had just over a week to arrange a rally, yet such was the public support we achieved this. Several hundred people of all ages attended. People marched from all parts of the town and congregated in the centre to support our cause. Various people spoke, including a local teenager who emphasised the importance of the forest for young people and our climate. A young man had even written a song to celebrate the Beacon. We were on BBC and ITV local news that night.
Here are some photos from our FB page of the event, which clearly illustrate the depth of our support.
Our FB page grew from nothing to over a 1000 within a fortnight. There were countless letters sent to the local paper and councillors in opposition to any development of the Beacon Forest, including glamping, holiday lodges, low density housing etc. (Our FB page has continued to grow. We now have over 1,600 followers and this is, despite the fact everyone, until recently, believed the Beacon had been saved from any development.)
The overwhelming opposition to EDC’s Penrith Masterplan resulted in Lowther pulling out and eventually the scrapping of the entire project.
The post-analysis of the Masterplan recommended that any future discussion on the Beacon Forest should involve the local community including interested groups.
If you would like to help us protect the Beacon with its surrounding forest, to keep this special environment with its tranquillity, wonderful wildlife, beautiful flora and fauna, please sign up below and we will keep you up to date with our campaign. We will not share this information with any other party.