Views from Wordsworth house at risk from hotel: A hotel extension could ruin the views that inspired a great Romantic poet. Oliver Gillie reports

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The Independent Online
WORDSWORTH'S house in Cockermouth, Cumbria, where the poet was born and lived as a child, is threatened by the development of an extension to a neighbouring hotel. The new building will spoil views across the river Derwent which were a source of inspiration for the poet.

Allerdale District Council refused permission for an earlier version of the development, but plans for the extension to the Trout Hotel have been resubmitted with a lower roof line. English Heritage, which raised objections to the first plan, is not opposing the new plans, but the National Trust, which owns Wordsworth's House, is objecting strongly.

The proposed extension will radically alter the appearance of the riverside behind the house.

As a child Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy played on the terrace overlooking the river at the back of the house, a grade 1 listed Victorian building. He wrote in The Prelude about the pleasure of swimming there.

When, having left his Mountains, to the Towers

Of Cockermouth that beauteous river came,

Behind my Father's House he pass'd, close by,

Along the margin of our Terrace Walk.

He was a Playmate whom we dearly lov'd.

Oh] many a time have I a five years child,

A naked Boy, in one delightful Rill . . .

Made one long bathing of a summer's day

The poet saw the river Derwent as a nurturing force, recalling it in 1799 when he was alone in Germany, said Robert Woof, director of the Wordsworth Trust. Grappling with a feeling of artistic failure, he wrote:

. . . the fairest of all rivers, lov'd

To blend his murmurs with my Nurse's song.

And from his alder shades and rocky falls.

And from his fords and shallows, sent a voice

That flow'd along my dreams.

The National Trust says Wordsworth's House is of national importance and the views must be conserved. About 24,000 people visit it each year.

Councillors will consider the application on 20 October.

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