Public helps shape Lakes Local Plan

Published on: 28 Feb 2019

Community and Visitor Centre at Ennerdale Bridge

The Lake District National Park Authority is heralding the success of its 2018 draft Local Plan consultation resulting in significant changes to the way the development of new houses, businesses and visitor attractions will be managed within the park.

The National Park’s eight-week consultation last year resulted in a record level of responses from a wide range of ages and locations, with more than 2,700 people submitting their views on policies and potential sites.

The public showed significant support, and the draft Local Plan includes proposals for:

  • Increasing the number of local homes from 900 to 1200 during the next 15 years
  • Supporting housing on farms, particularly to help with generational changes
  • New tourism projects and new car parks will be required to make a financial contribution towards infrastructure and sustainable travel, benefiting both visitors and local communities
  • Protecting and enhancing important wildlife habitats, sites and species and by requiring developers to compensate to secure net increases in biodiversity. This is a new approach and will create actions that are in line with the Government’s 25 year environment plan.

Steve Ratcliffe, Director of Sustainable Development at the Lake District National Park said: “Our draft Local Plan is ambitious and provides some fantastic opportunities for the future of the National Park to become an even better place to live, work and enjoy. It’s important all developments contribute in a positive way to this special place and our local communities. The Plan sets a framework for managing complex challenges, including climate change, community vibrancy, and helping to manage visitor pressures felt in certain areas of the Park. Our innovative new policies on farm diversification, car parking, biodiversity and securing contributions from developers, are just a few new ways to do this and will help us make a positive impact, both now and for the next 15 years.”

Following feedback from the Lake District communities and businesses, a number of changes were made to the draft plan. These include:

  • ‘Showcase Area Policy’: the intention was to improve the experience and way in which visitors move around the three busiest areas of the park: Windermere, Keswick and Ullswater. People said they felt this approach was too supportive towards development and required further clarity. As a result of this feedback, the Showcase Area Policy will not be included within the Local Plan. Instead we will take a broader approach to achieve the same results through our Distinctive Areas Policy, which considers all five areas of the National Park.
  • Whinlatter Visitor Centre: the significant development of the site and early concept ideas will remain in the Local Plan as an example of an ambitious project that we may support during the next 15 years. However, following feedback, the wording has been amended to make it clearer that there is currently no preferred option for transport or the experience, and specific reference to a gondola has been removed. As the planning authority we would expect a developer to consider all community impacts and access options whether by gondola, low-emission vehicles, or other means before submitting a detailed planning application. And in line with the Authority’s new developer policy, should the proposal be successful in the planning process, the developer would be required to contribute towards furthering sustainable transport in the area to benefit both residents and visitors.
  • The Royalty Cinema in Bowness will not be included in the Local Plan as a potential site for development, as the majority of responses about this site objected to the landowner’s proposal.

The next stage of the Local Plan review is for Members to approve the changes at the Authority’s Park Strategy and Vision committee on 11 March, followed by an eight week period from 8 April to test the Local Plan for legal compliance by making the documents available to the public on the National Park website.

Find out more about the Lake District’s Local Plan:

Photo shows ‘The Gather’, a community and visitor centre in the village of Ennerdale Bridge.

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