Page last updated at 06:54 GMT, Friday, 12 February 2010

Go Ape wires plan for Moel Famau unzips opposition

Zip wire
Go Ape proposes putting up five zip wires through Coed Moel Famau

An activity centre's plan for zip wires in a protected forest has prompted claims that it is the wrong place for the "adrenalin-based entertainment".

Go Ape has outlined plans for a network of five wires in woodland at Moel Famau Country Park, Denbighshire.

The firm says Zip Wild would create full and part-time jobs, with customers bringing secondary spending.

Opponents complain of too much extra traffic and noise to a park in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Moel Famau is part of the Clwydian Range and the 2,000-acre (800 hectare) country park is managed by Denbighshire Countryside Services.

There would be lot of noise from the zip lines, people shouting and screaming as they enjoy themselves, and we're not sure that sort of thing is appropriate in that sort of place
Nigel Shillito, local resident

Go Ape currently runs an obstacle course in Margam, near Port Talbot, which it describes as a "high-wire forest adventure" in trees, using ladders, walkways, bridges and tunnels made of wood, rope and wire.

The obstacle course includes zip wires but the firm is proposing a separate, purpose-built facility in Coed Moel Famau.

Locator graphic of zip wire network
Opponents say the scheme is not appropriate for an OANB

Users would clip on to a wire and slide end-to-end through the trees.

It has put details of its plan on a web forum, although no planning application has been submitted to Denbighshire council.

It said the "Zip Wild" course would be a network of zip lines that take people high above the forest floor.

It estimates it would generate a maximum of 60 car journeys during the peak hours of its use.

The firm proposes adding 80 extra spaces to the country park's car park and removing the barriers to reduce the number of cars parking on the road.

'Busy road'

But critics claim the road to the country park is too narrow and busy to sustain extra traffic and say the project is inappropriate for an AONB.

Nigel Shillito, a GP who lives on the road with his wife and son, said local people were forming an action group to oppose the proposals.

He said: "This is a road that has already got issues.

"There have been lots of accidents on the road already, nothing to do with Go Ape, just purely the fact that the road is a busy road.

"Two cars have overturned in front of my house in the last five years. We're very aware of the traffic."

Someone using a zip wire
Go Ape's forest-based obstacle course at Moel Famau includes zip lines

He said another objection would be the change of use of the forest.

"We think of the park as a place of tranquillity and beauty. The idea of a zip wire, an adrenalin-based entertainment, does not seem to be in keeping with an AONB.

"There would be lot of noise from the zip lines, people shouting and screaming as they enjoy themselves, and we're not sure that sort of thing is appropriate in that sort of place."

'Address concerns'

In its proposals, Go Ape claims the Zip Wild would create full and part time jobs, with its customers bringing secondary spending to the local economy.

It runs 22 courses around the UK and expects to open four more at Easter.

Business development manager Ben Davies said: "We are in the very early stages of a proposed Zip Wild course in the beautiful Moel Famau Country Park.

"As part of this process we have talked to interested parties and are working to address their concerns before submitting our proposal.

The firm was founded by Rebecca and Tristram Mayhew after they experienced a tree-top adventure course on holiday in France.



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