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Wednesday, 17 October, 2001, 06:01 GMT 07:01 UK
Nudists' paradise under threat
A public inquiry is underway to solve a dispute over a footpath which runs through the middle of a Cumbrian nudist camp.

Naturists belonging to the Lakeland Outdoor Club have used the site near Haverigg since 1972.

But an application to have the path recognised on a map threatens to encourage more ramblers and destroy the nudist's privacy.

One of the members of the Lakeland Outdoor Club at Sandacres, Peter Miller, told BBC News Online: "There are members who think this is a move to get us off the site, and I don't think for one moment it would achieve that.

I have had that much hassle... I am not going to give in

Fred Hunter, Landowner

"The club deliberately sought out a piece of land which was well isolated from the local community... it seemed an ideal site."

The land the path crosses was sold to a local farm in 1962, and the nudists lease the land from the farmer.

But Cumbria County Council is the keeper of the definitive map on which all rights of way are marked.

'Compromise impossible'

Brian Hough, the press officer for the council said: "This particular footpath is not on the map and locals have asked that it should be put on.

"We have explored trying to get a compromise but between the two sides it has not been possible.

"People have to prove that it has been used as a footpath over a considerable number of years," he added.

No objection

By Friday, the hearing at St. Luke's Institute in Haverigg is expected to reach a decision on whether the path is officially recognised as a right of way.

Mr Miller, who is himself a former rights of way officer, feels the issue has been falsely painted as an argument between ramblers and nudists.

The sixty-year-old said: "The club has said it would not object to a permissive footpath within the site, but in a position remote from the area we use.

'Vocal minority'

"But that is for the council and the landowner to grant, and the way the landowner has been treated by a vocal minority in the village, he may not feel like doing that."

Fred Hunter, the landowner at Stoup Dub Farm, told BBC News Online: "I have had that much hassle... I am not going to give in.

"I am happy for the naturists to stay there, they have been there for 30 years and they are not doing anyone any harm.

"But I will see what happens and then wait until the fuss has died down."

Click here to go to BBC Tyne Online
See also:

17 Jul 01 | Americas
Resort to build 'nudist bridge'
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