The zipline would be 650m, with a 7% gradient. Credit: planning documents

And finally… zip it

The progress of a zip line attraction through planning may not be as exhilarating as the experience itself, but can be a sight more hazardous, as a proposed Scarborough installation might find.

North Yorkshire Council’s Scarborough & Whitby area planning committee on 11 April will for the second time consider plans from ZipnZap and Big Bang Promotions for a zipwire in Scarborough’s North Bay, launching from the former Marvels Leisure Park and landing south of the Scalby Mills miniature railway station.

The steel-framed lattice launch tower would measure a dizzying 35.5m in height, with ancillary reception facilities being built at the Marvels site. The zipline would be around 650m, with a gradient of 7%.

The landing tower would measure 19.1m and be sited between the Cleveland Way and Scalby Mills Station at the end of North Bay, together with ancillary landing zone structures.

Originally, the project was due to be heard at February’s committee – but with refusal being recommended by officers, a decision was deferred, to give the applicant time to amend proposals.

Changes have been made to the plans, most notably in that a five-year temporary permission is now sought rather than a permanent consent, while changes around cladding and colours have also been made.

And it can’t be denied the applicants make a compelling case, laying it on thick with the reasons why North Bay is their destination of choice:

“The critical factors underpinning the choice of Scarborough’s North Bay include land ownership, the area’s elevation difference, the optimal angle of descent for safety and excitement, and the lack of adverse effects on local residents and highways.

“These elements, combined with the area’s mix of coastal and natural vistas provides a stunning backdrop that would appeal to the adventure tourism market. This makes North Bay an unparalleled location for the Zip Wire attraction that would be hard to replicate anywhere in the UK.”

However, NYC’s planning officers remain unconvinced, positing that while there would be some benefits, the proven heritage pound is worth more than the potential adventure-seeking equivalent.

Although the proposal would “broadly accord” with the Local Plan’s economic growth aspirations, it is noted that “the proposal would conflict with the related policy criteria and other development plan policies which seek to protect Scarborough’s heritage and the character and appearance of the area”.

Adding that the amendments to the plan “do not alter this assessment” the officers’ advice is that great weight should be given to conservation of heritage assets, and that significant weight should be given to the harm to the character and appearance of the area.

Zipwires have been controversial in various locations down the years, A Lake District project has been taxing planners in recent years, while there was an almighty brouhaha over a Liverpool proposal back in 2020. We’ll be watching this one with interest.

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