Go Ape failed to meet conditions of plan approval

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Chorley’s controversial treetop adventure course has failed to comply with the conditions attached to its planning approval.

It’s come to light that Go Ape in Rivington hasn’t adhered to the car park rules set by Chorley Council when it was granted planning permission.

Go Ape recently had to submit a retrospective planning application to extend two zipwire landing zones after operating without the necessary permission.

Those plans were approved, but the adventure company now has to consider submitting another retrospective application for the car park.

When Chorley Council granted planning permission in 2008, one condition said: “Before the development hereby permitted is first brought into use, the car park and vehicle manoeuvring area shall be surfaced or paved, drained and marked out all in accordance with the approved plan.”

The conditions were never met.

Coun Peter Goldsworthy, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “We have been given a commitment by Go Ape that they will be consulting with local residents on options for the car park.

“Once that has been done they will need to submit either a retrospective planning application or an application to vary a condition of the current permission.”

But chairman for the Friends of Lever Park in Rivington, Robert Dootson, is outraged Go Ape has been allowed to operate for the last three years.

He said: “The car park on the approved plan has not been developed and as such, the development should never have been allowed to be brought into use.

“Both the applicant and the planning department agreed to the conditions, so we feel that the planning authorities of Chorley Council should recommend enforcement action.”

Ben Davies, business development manager at Go Ape, said: “We’re aware of this issue and are currently finalising the plans for the car park before we apply for retrospective planning.”

In relation to the retrospective plans for the zipwire zones, he added: “Whilst we are aware that a small number of people will never be happy with Go Ape at Rivington, the vast majority recognise it as a valuable addition to the area.

“This planning application was never about the course as a whole.”