Keswick 'park and sail' scheme aims to cut traffic woes

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John Wilson, of Keswick Rugby Club
Image caption,
John Wilson, of Keswick Rugby Club, believes the partnership can make a positive impact

Visitors to a Lake District town are being encouraged to take part in a new "park and sail" scheme which aims to cut "unprecedented" road congestion.

People buying an all-day £4 parking ticket at Keswick Rugby Club receive a 15% discount on boat trips across Derwentwater.

It is hoped it will help alleviate issues at hotspots such as Cat Bells.

Keswick Tourism Association says matters are "close to breaking point" with rising visitor numbers.

About three million people visit the town annually and it has been particularly popular over past months as coronavirus lockdown restrictions have been eased.

Fire engines and ambulances have been impeded on call-outs in the Lake District and some bus services had to be suspended at the end of May due to what was described as "inconsiderate parking and heavy congestion".

Phil Stannat, Keswick Fire Station manager, said: "It's mainly people parking on the sides of roads.

"Fire engines and ambulances can't get past and there are no passing places if vehicles are parked bumper to bumper for long stretches."

Image source, LDNPA
Image caption,
Emergency services warned earlier this summer that poor parking could mean the "difference between life and death"

John Wilson, of the rugby club, said its 200-space car park "wasn't fully utilised historically" and the partnership with Keswick Launch Company was "about getting vehicles off the road".

Visitors can access boats via a walk through Crow Park along the northern shore of Derwentwater.

Problems with parking and congestion in the area have "been a topic of conversation for many years," according to Vanessa Metcalfe, of the tourism association.

"We do have some outlying car parks such as the rugby club that are underused so we need to promote them better.

"People who have been coming to Keswick for years didn't know there was a car park there."

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