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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 July 2006, 12:24 GMT 13:24 UK
Stairlift plan for Dartmoor tor
Haytor impression
How the Haytor stairlift would look
Planning permission is being sought for a stairlift on one of Dartmoor's most iconic natural rock formations.

Artist Alex Murdin has applied to Dartmoor National Park Planning authority for permission for the stairlift at Haytor Rocks.

Mr Murdin, 35, said the application is "deadly serious" and he has the backing of disabled groups.

But the Dartmoor Preservation Association said it would oppose the move which it called a "joke".

The project also seeks consent for a granite pathway from the car park up to the rocks, to enable people in wheelchairs to get to the stairlift.

Mr Murdin, 35, from Ashburton, said he expected opposition to the application, but he said it was designed to raise questions about who really has access to Britain's wild landscapes.

Alex Murdin
We hear a lot about the importance of equal access to the countryside
Alex Murdin

"We hear a lot about the importance of equal access to the countryside," he said.

"This planning application is designed to test the National Park's commitment to that.

"I have a father with polio. Why should he have to sit in the car park?"

Hugh Robinson, deputy secretary of the Dartmoor Preservation Association, said: "There were a series of steps built into the Tor in the 1800s, but I think this is absolutely ridiculous.

"Someone is playing a silly joke and it should be treated as such.

"I can't imagine how anyone could be serious about it."

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