A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for a toboggan ride at Gulworthy’s Tamar Trails has been withdrawn.

The proposed planning application by Zip World which would have created a toboggan ride that weaved through the woodland was submitted in June this year to West Devon Borough Council.

Gulworthy Parish Council opposed the application along with other neighbouring parish councils.

The applicants said that that construction of the ride among the trees would result in needing to remove some trees, but that the design would not involve too much change to either the trails – used by walkers and mountain bikers – or the woods themselves.

But local residents were against the scheme saying it was not in keeping with the peace and tranquility of the attraction.

Chair of Gulworthy Parish Council Kate Royston expressed her relief this week that the proposed gravity-fuelled toboggan ride won’t be going ahead.

Cllr Royston said: ‘From a parish council perspective we are very pleased as we feel that the toboggan ride was inappropriate for this setting and the woods, and were concerned about the damage it would cause to the biodiversity.

‘We don’t have a problem with economic development, but it has to be appropriate.

‘These woodlands are a valuable resource for local wellbeing. There’s so much here that’s precious to so many people.

‘Having a mechanical ride going through the woods and the beautiful trail is not what people want. This is not the right setting for a theme-park style ride. To walk down there and imagine what it would be like to have the toboggan ride there is just ludicrous.

‘We had a significant number of members of the public that came to the meeting and a significant number of objection letters’, said the councillor.

‘The discussion about the plans was the most well-attended meeting. So it is clear that our view is shared.

‘There was concern that there would be a lot of noise transferrance throughout the valley. If the wind blows in a certain direction you can hear all sorts of things across the valley such as the trains and pedestrian crossings. There was also the concerns about the impact of light. Another attraction to this area is the darkness at night.

‘Nature has done a lot to recover and restore the landscape. We’re in a biodiversity emergency so it doesn’t make sense. It goes against the grain of what people want.

‘Travelling through it is not appreciating it for what it is.’

Calstock parish councillor for Gunnislake, Mike Greenwood echoed Kate’s views and said the amount of devastation that would be caused in the construction and operation of the toboggan ride would be ‘totally inappropriate in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB)’.

‘They would be taking out the best part of 400 trees in an area which is part of an ancient woodland,’ he said. ‘It would be a big scar on the landscape and the noise and light pollution would be horrendous. The whole thing has been designed on a spoil heap with mine workings underneath — it would be built on mine waste. It’s totally untenable.’

The councillor said that the council was pleased it had been withdrawn but he would not be surprised to see it come back again in a modified form.

‘The application was totally inadequate from the contamination report to the wildlife surveys. All the statutory consultees were against it. The toboggan ride was part and parcel of a bigger application including a larger cafe facility, I don’t think it’s the last we have seen of it but next time we will be ready.’

Zip World was contacted but did not wish to comment at this time.