Cable car verdict year away

PUBLISHED: 18:00 01 April 2015

Cheddar Gorge (Picture: Cheddar Caves and Gorge).

Cheddar Gorge (Picture: Cheddar Caves and Gorge).

Archant

A CABLE car at a Somerset tourism spot will not be on the cards for at least 12 months due to concerns it would not attract enough people to make it financially viable.

Plans for a cable car to run through Cheddar gorge, which is managed by Longleat Estates, were broached in 2012, although the concept is much older than that.

However, a study assessing the idea’s financial feasibility suggests although it would attract more visitors, it may not be enough to make it worth the start-up cost.

Cheddar Caves and Gorge director Hugh Cornwell said: “The cable car is neither on nor off.

“It is a big project which needs detailed costing and we have only really had ballpark costing.

“And it is also a project that needs a sufficient money to justify doing it and it is a high-risk venture.

“I would suggest we would not proceed with it for 12 months, and the decision to proceed with it I would expect will depend on our view of the general economy.

“Because in a sense, it is not just the Cheddar economy performance but Longleat’s performance and the national economy which need to be taken into account.

“It is just my guess, but we could be waiting two years for any decision.”

The financial feasibility document assessed the viability of a cable car over a 30-year period.

When the cable car idea was broached in 2012, it was met with opposition from some campaigners.

The National Trust said the attraction would be ‘inappropriate’ as it would be in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Mr Cornwell added: “The cable car would attract more people than currently, but is it enough to justify the cost? The jury is still out.

“But I continue to live in hope.”

In the meantime, plans are underway to overhaul Cox’s Cave, which currently features a story called The Crystal Quest.

But the story may be re-written and new technology installed. Other buildings in the gorge could also receive a fresh lick of paint.

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