Ambleside News 2nd July 2024

A bronze sculpture of Riley the Millans Park cat was unveiled on the garden wall of Glen Millans last Saturday, watched by a gathering of her many friends and neighbours. The sculpture was to commemorate Riley, the feral cat, who was rescued in a snowstorm in 2011 by Laszlo Papp at Dodd’s Restaurant, and lived many happy years out of doors on the wall outside Glen Millans, supported by neighbours Ian and Pat Rollins, and the cat’s many fans and passers by. When Riley was badly injured by a car and died a few months ago, Ian and Laszlo set up a GoFundMe to commission the bronze, and a portrait of Riley, from local artist David Cemmick. A tribute by the statue reads: “Life of Riley, 2011-2024: A much loved and feral cat who lived here in the garden. Riley loved ratting and was a pigeon fancier. The statue commemorates her life of freedom, and the joy she brought into our lives will never be forgotten. With grateful thanks to all who gave to this artwork and to her creator, internationally renowned Lakes artist and sculptor, David Cemmick “ Riley’s friendly miaow not only greeted her neighbours, but visitors came from far and wide to see the famous feral cat, with messages and memories pouring in after her sad end.  

Colin Thomson has accepted the Presidency of Ambleside Kirkstone Rotary Club for another year, and his new term of office was confirmed at the Club’s recent Midsummer Party. Since celebrating the Club’s 20th anniversary in 2023, members have held fundraisers, open speaker meetings and events. These included a Big Easy Quiz, Silver Sunday afternoon tea for those living alone, the annual Pink 5K sponsored walk, plus sponsorship of the Lakes School UK National finalist entry for Rotary Young Chef of the Year award, and members recently helped host the RBL D-Day Commemorative Tea Party. The Club has raised funds for charities including St Mary’s Hospice, the Royal British Legion, Blackwell Sailing, Water Aid and Shelter Box, and members have given practical help to local events such as the park run and Langdale Gala. Anyone interested in joining can contact the Secretary on 015394 33767 or email

Ambleside Rushbearing and Children’s Sports take place a week on Saturday, 2.30pm, July 6.

Pickleball Friday July 5, 4-6pm at White Platts, weather allowing, Lakes Parish Council invite all to try their hand at Pickleball on the new court, free hot drinks and entry.

Ambleside Rushbearing this Saturday, July 6:  Gifts of garden flowers welcome outside Church from 9.30am, also help decorating the Church bearings. Procession at 2.30pm from the Primary School, followed by a brief service, gingerbread for all, and tea for the children, before the Rushbearing Sports and Loughrigg Fell Race.

Ambleside CancerCare Summer Fair is next Saturday week, July 13, Kelsick Centre, 10.30-12.30pm, entry £2, includes tea/coffee and biscuits, with cake stall, books, jewellery, jigsaws and raffle.

Lakes Parish Council’s recent meeting discussed the frequent weekend use of Rothay Park by profit-making commercial events, who erect marquees, rows of toilets and other facilities, blocking public usage.  However, Lakes PC receives no payment towards Park usage from Events organisers, or W&F Council. Event delivery trucks accessing Rothay Park past Ambleside Primary School during school hours also cause serious safeguarding issues. Councillors described Rothay Park as a general disgrace, with large areas overrun by weeds and docks, and despite  numerous reports to W&F Council since May 2023 concerning the collapsed footpath by Stock Beck, no action has been taken.

Lakes Parish Council have passed a Vote of No Confidence in the National Park Authority, because of a series of ongoing grievances regarding LDNPA’s management and decision-making processes. These are perceived to undermine the interests, trust and sustainability of the local community, causing deep-seated frustrations. The Council’s concerns span a wide range of issues, from neglecting maintenance responsibilities and failing to enforce planning conditions, to promoting unsustainable commercialisation and ignoring fundamental conservation principles. Lakes PC urges the LDNPA’s Development Control Committee (DCC) to adhere more strictly to existing policies and prioritise conservation efforts to protect the Lake District’s unique character and ensure the wellbeing of its residents.  Among grievances are neglect of footpaths and of farm accesses. While LDNPA continues to encourage more tourism, this also exacerbates wear and tear on pathways, putting extra strain on livelihoods and the rural landscape. The DCC has also granted planning permission for agricultural buildings against local wishes, and is also allowing property developments beyond local affordability, which displace residents, and  threaten the social fabric and sustainability of the local population.

The World Heritage Status bid and ‘Britain’s Adventure Capital’ ambitions raised fears of transforming the Lake District into a theme park from a protected national park. Lakes PC said this repeatedly overlooked the Sandford Principle, which should prioritise conservation over commercial development. The Authority was also accused of weak enforcement on developments that failed to comply with planning conditions. It was also said to have no effective plan to manage increased numbers of day trippers, by refusing car park developments, with limited public transport options. Councillors also say the local occupancy condition on new builds is too broad, allowing people with minimal local ties to qualify. The current development of new homes in Ambleside would push property prices beyond the reach of locals, and planning should be more stringent and targeted.

Decisions such as the approval of the Elterwater Quarry zip wire disregarded the Sandford Principle and the Authority’s own planning policy 01, to protect the area’s character and landscape, and the unchanged transport plan from one previously rejected was deemed unfeasible. With only 55% of Development Control Committee members living in the National Park, Council criticised the allocation of seats. Members lacked the ability to accurately represent local communities, or the impact that developments may have on them, and criticised the DCC’s lack of adequate training and knowledge of local policies resulting in poorly informed decisions.