Lowther Estate at centre of Grasmere “houseboats” row

Date: Monday 13th January 2020

THE Lowther Estate Trust has found itself at the centre of a row over whether up to 10 boats can be moored at Grasmere, which it owns, to be used for recreational use and overnight holiday accommodation.

In December, the estate lodged a certicate of lawful existing use or development query with the Lake District National Park Authority, asking whether it would be lawful to put recreational leisure craft on Grasmere.

The estate said it was not asking a question about residential boats — houseboats — as had been widely perceived, but leisure craft, such as those which have been seen for many years on Coniston Water and Ullswater.

The question was a query in law about the legality of the move. It was not a planning application, the estate said.

Earlier this week, David Bliss, chief executive officer of the Lowther Estate Trust, met Andy Astle, group leader of the Houseboats off Grasmere campaign, which had previously held a “supporters’ stroll”, in which more than 200 people took part, against the proposal.

Mr Bliss said the meeting was friendly and Mr Astle stressed that his campaign did not apply to Lowther Castle, but to the Lowther Estate.

Mr Astle said he was happy to let his followers know that Lowther Castle — a separate entity — should be omitted from his campaign.

Following the meeting, Mr Bliss said: ‘We are very keen to communicate in a constructive manner. Any further questions should be addressed to the Lowther Estate — infolowther.co.uk.”