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Statement on Go Ape installation at Trent Park

Published Friday, 27 January 2012

Enfield Council has issued the following statement regarding the Go Ape installation at Trent Park.

Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Chris Bond, said: "The Go Ape site has been through an extensive public consultation process as part of the planning process, and all views received from interested parties were taken into account by the Planning Committee prior to giving the application planning permission.

"As part of this consultation process, Go Ape spent two days in Trent Park itself, talking to members of the public about its proposals and the Planning Committee insisted on certain conditions designed to protect wildlife habitats and bio-diversity in the area covered by the proposed adventure park.

"When I spoke to a member of the Group who opposed this application he stated that Go Ape would attract the wrong type of person to Trent Park. I can only assume he meant the vandals that have been attacking the workers tools and causing disruption to local meetings. We are not used to this sort of behaviour in Enfield and it will not be tolerated.

"Go Ape have sites across the UK, including a number on Forestry Commission land and protection and preserving these sites is a priority for the company. We are confident the adventure park will be a great addition to the park as a whole, while retaining its current character and charm.

"The Go Ape adventure park will have minimal impact on existing park users. In fact the new facility should attract more people to Trent Park who will take advantage of its excellent amenities and facilities."

Please see below original press release for Go Ape:

To ensure the safety of park users, the Council has undertaken scheduled essential tree maintenance in all of the woodland area in Trent Park and in doing so have needed to fell diseased and dead trees.  This essential maintenance was not only carried out on the ground of health and safety but will allow light onto the woodland floor and will encourage natural regeneration.

Regrettably, since the essential maintenance works, several further trees were damaged in the recent high winds and posed a threat to the public, these have since been felled and although the work has been carried out by Go Ape, the Council gave permission.

The installation of Go Ape’s tree based high rope adventure course is now underway and has been designed to offer Enfield residents and visitors to Enfield the opportunity to test their ability via a network of aerial walkways, consisting of obstacles such as bridges, trapezes, zip slides, netting, platforms and tunnels which are made from either wood, rope or super-strong wire allowing participants to traverse from tree to tree giving them the chance to test their nerve in a completely safe and beautiful setting.

Up to 14 participants every half an hour in peak times and 14 every hour in off peak times will be able to use the facility, and will be kitted out with harnesses, given a 30 minute safety briefing and training. They are then monitored for a further period before they are then let loose into the forest canopy offering them a variety of mental and physical challenges.  Instructors are always on hand, regularly patrolling the forests to maintain a safe environment.

As well as being in close proximity to public transport the park has had substantial investment over recent years in terms of the refurbishment of the existing toilet facilities, and a newly constructed car park which has provided a further 135 spaces. There is also a café on site, all of which are in close proximity to the proposed site of the facility.

The Friends of Trent Park have supported the facility and during the 2 day consultation held within the park by Go Ape, positive feed back was given as not only will the facility provide a positive contribution to sport and physical activity for young people and residents in Enfield, it will also help and improve the opportunities for all in active living and recreation. It will also reclaim a largely unused area of forest providing new recreation and adventurous play which will bring pleasure and enjoyment for young people and the residents of Enfield.  This in turn will promote healthy lifestyles and outdoor exercise for health.

Furthermore it will create new jobs, increase the profile of Trent Park and increase the diversity and use of Trent Park.

The opportunity to tender was advertised in local papers as well as a nationwide leisure magazine. A full comprehensive tendering process was undertaken to ensure that Go Ape has the ability, expertise, experience and high standards of Health and Safety to manage the course whilst retaining and protecting the historic fabric and character of Trent Park in its role as a wildlife habitat and a public amenity. References were also undertaken from the Forestry Commission who currently have 14 Go Ape aerial courses within their woodland.

Green Belt consent has also been sought, and as part of that procedure a public notice was placed into local papers.

As part of the planning application, a further notice was placed within local papers and notices within the park. Go Ape were heavily scrutinised regarding green belt issues, ecology and biodiversity impacts, access to parking issues, impact from increase in the intensity of use, impact of any ancillary structures, and impact of any potential signage.

The course will cover only 6.7 acres of the 413 acres and will not require exclusivity of the area of the park known as Church Wood and will have a minimal impact on the ground as the only ground usage are the entry points and the cabin in which Go Ape will operate from. 

The structure itself will be of wooden construction which will be discreet and will blend into the woodland landscape allowing a wide variety of age groups to view the park from a different perspective, whilst complimenting its existing usage.

Other parks where they currently have courses also provide bike hire and segways but permission has not been applied for in Trent Park.

After stringent requirements imposed by Enfield Council, Go Ape has been granted planning permission to install a tree based high rope adventure course into 6.7 acres of Church Wood within the extensive 413 acres of Trent Park.

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