Campaigners were today (MON) calling on Lake District planners to distance themselves from a scheme to develop a cable car at Whinlatter.

The idea was mooted in the National Park Authority's Local Plan last summer and sparked major opposition.

References to the project have been dropped in the revised planning guidelines drawn up by the authority, although it says the idea has not been ruled out.

Now the action group No Go Gondola is calling on the National Park Authority to go further.

It says that it should no longer be part of the Whinlatter Development Company which is responsible for the development of the outdoors centre.

Mike Cave, committee member of the No Go group said they welcomed some changes to the Local Plan, but claimed the authority had deliberately left room for developers to submit such a project.

"There should be a preference to use existing infrastructure. Why spend £30 million on a gondola when you have an existing road? They should be promoting the use of buses.

"We are also concerned about the policies that affect the 'distinctive areas' ignore the standard policies that apply to the Park."

The protest group were expected to present a statement to the LDNPA Strategy and Vision Committee today, calling on the authority to divorce itself from the WDC and to amend policies for the 'distinctive areas'.

The group is also urging the NPA to look at introducing tourist taxes or increased taxes on second homes or rental properties to help protect the national park.

Liam McAleese, Head of Strategy and Partnerships for the Lake District National Park said: “We have met with the NoGo Gondola community group to discuss their concerns about the potential development at the Whinlatter Visitor Centre and draft Local Plan. We are expecting members of the group to speak at our Park Strategy and Vision Committee on Monday afternoon where we will listen and respond at that time.”