DETAILED plans to install a cable car on the Malvern Hills are set to be publicly unveiled in the new year.
The project continues to gather pace despite the Malvern Hills Conservators which manages the land reiterating its position that it would be illegal.
But High Street Malvern, the organisation behind the idea, remains undeterred and the Observer can reveal Clive Smith is set to resign from the board of Conservators tomorrow (Thursday) as he intends to be part of any company which is formed to back the cable car.
The group has invited representatives from the Conservators to meet with them in January to explain the proposals in ‘great detail’ including engineering and architectural aspects of the scheme.
This will be followed by a public exhibition and consultation on the plans.
Mark Young, from HSM’s Cable Car Group, said: “The Conservators have not yet taken the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the project and we believe many fears and misconceptions can be addressed at such a meeting, particularly in the areas of conservation and appeal.
“There is wide-spread support for the project with the business community and the general public.
“The scheme is important in that it offers a significant number of quality jobs, access for a huge number of people currently unable to make it to the summit and the positive effect on prosperity for the entire area.”
But Stephen Bound, director at the Conservators, refuted all of the group’s claims, reiterating the Acts of Parliament concerning the hills strictly prohibited the installation of buildings and overhead cables.
He said he had already met with High Street Malvern to explain the position adding ‘nothing had changed’ and claimed a recent consultation revealed public rejection of the idea by more than two residents to one.
Mr Bound said: “It is not simply a question of the Conservators deciding whether to allow a cable car. The fact is that we would be acting unlawfully if we were to give consent.
“It also appears that the public do not support the proposal.
“Any structure on the hills would be visible from most points in the surrounding landscape. A cable car would unquestionably have a negative impact on the natural beauty of the hills.”
The topic is set to get a further airing at tomorrow’s board meeting, aside from Mr Smith’s resignation. Fellow member Paul Tuthill has confirmed he will propose that the Conservators investigate using a 4×4 crossover utility vehicle similar to those used by Malvern Town Council, in order to transport people up to the hills.
He said: “It would be a compromise of sorts. It could satisfy people who find it difficult going up to the hills and assess what the demand is without the need for any extra infrastructure.”