THE PROJECT to build a cable car on the Malvern Hills has sparked further debate with backers now trying to arrange talks with the Conservators.
The hot topic was raised at the town council’s annual general meeting this month when resident Martin Burd questioned why the council had set up a working party to investigate the idea, which he branded a ‘total non-starter’.
He said: “Why was the motion not withdrawn and then carried. I would suggest anything to do with this cable car should cease, councillors have got better things to spend their time on and better things to develop in Malvern. This is a waste of time and effort and a lost cause.”
Mayor Julian Roskams, chairing the meeting, said he respected the view but the decision to form a working party was made democratically, adding the group may rule out the idea and consider alternatives for increasing accessibility to the hills.
Coun Mike Charles, on the working party, defended the move and said a December visit to the Heights of Abraham in Derbyshire to witness a similar operation had proved very encouraging.
“This town needs to progress and something like this to attract a number of people.
“We need to look at some sort of attraction and this would be one of the best we could have. At the moment Great Malvern in the words of Churchill is a graveyard with a bus running through it.”
High Street Malvern which is leading the project published a business case in December highlighting the project would cost around £6million to build. The document outlined it would take around 1,250 people a day running for 265 days a year for the attraction to be sustainable.
Roger Sutton from High Street Malvern said the group had reached out to the Conservators last week to arrange a meeting but were yet to receive a response.
“The Conservators are being very coy and have dug a little trench for themselves.
“They are at the crux of the whole thing. If they want to do it, it will happen, it they don’t it won’t. It is as simple as that.”
Stephen Bound, director of the Conservators, reiterated the charity’s position on the matter. He said Parliamentary legislation which governed the preservation of the Hills prohibited overhead cables as they were a ‘blot on the iconic landscape’.
Mr Bound added there was a ‘presumption’ in the laws against building any kind of structure such as the pylons required to mount the cable car.
“In asking the Conservators for consent to construct a cable car the supporters of this are asking the Conservators to act illegally.”
He failed to confirm whether the body would meet formally with members of High Street Malvern to discuss the matter.