A CONTROVERSIAL planned upgrade of a tree-top zip ride at Tamar Trails Centre, in the Tamar Valley, has attracted new criticism — this time from Tavistock Town Council.

Residents and Gulworthy and Calstock parish councils and residents have already objected to the plan.

They are worried about damage to the woodland ecology by the suggested removal of 296 trees, the potential for soil erosion, noise disturbance in the peaceful countryside from thrill-seekers and pollution and noise from cars in the car park and a toboggan ride on a metal track.

A planning application for the upgrade of one of the Zip World popular rides, has been submitted to West Devon Borough Council, in partnership with Tree Surfers, based at Tamar Trails Centre. The scheme includes a new toboggan ride and upgraded ropes and nets course with added car parking spaces.

Tavistock’s mayor Cllr Paul Ward agreed to write to the borough council, Devon County Council and local ward councillor expressing similar concerns about the plan.

Tavistock Town Council development management and licensing committee, which met last week, discussed the plan and agreed it was unacceptable because it could harm a designated area of outstanding natural beauty within the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Committee chairman Cllr Ursula Mann said although Tavistock council was not a formal planning consultee, she suggested formally objecting because the town was within the same heritage site and there was potential for harming the site visually and ecologically through the removal of trees.

Cllr Ward said: ‘This plan is in an area of outstanding natural beauty and the world heritage site. So to chop down about 300 trees and lay down steel track is reckless. It doesn’t deserve our support.’

The committee agreed to the writing of the letter of objection. Cllr Ward added that any individual has the right to formally object or support a plan even if they did not live in the same area. He said a corporate letter of objection was the right thing to do.

Cllr Tony Fey also supported the letter: ‘If this plan was in our parish area we would definitely object.’

A spokesman for Zip World said the numbers of trees being removed was only a ‘tiny proportion of the woodland’and would help benefit its ongoing management after a period of non-management. He envisaged replanting of of native species if the plan was approved.

The trees in question were also ‘not long-standing’.

Supporters of the scheme say it will bring new jobs, attract tourists and provide an open space for families and children.