Illustration for communities and economy

Outcome 1: Vibrant communities and prosperous economy following COVID-19

As well as building on a strong visitor economy, we need to enable a diverse range of employment opportunities as part of the COVID-19 recovery, capitalising on Cumbria’s attractiveness as a place to live and work. The Local Industrial Strategy also highlights the urgent need to attract skilled labour to Cumbria, especially those who have completed University or higher education and would like to return to the area to live and work.

Our communities are ageing and this will present pressure on rural services and the sustainability of our settlements. Across Cumbria there is an urgent need to attract and retain young people to visit, live and work but in some communities in the Lake District over half the housing stock is being used as second or holiday homes meaning many young people and working families cannot afford to buy open market homes.

What are we trying to achieve?

  1. We will increase the number of permanent residents and the share of the resident population that is of working age.
  2. We will support the Lake District’s economic recovery from Covid-19.
  3. We will increase private financing in natural capital and green growth to create more jobs and enhance the natural environment.
  4. We will increase digital infrastructure coverage to grow a resilient, more diverse and sustainable economy.
  5. We will reduce carbon emissions and improve climate change resilience in our resident communities and businesses.

A further description of the intentions for the agricultural economy is in the farming and forestry, nature recovery and climate change outcome. The combination all these intentions will help to sustain and grow a diverse and resilient economy for the benefit of our communities and environment.

Key transformative actions to achieve our ambitions

  1. Lobby Homes England to make the social rent funding available for all relevant housing schemes throughout the Lake District not just South Lakeland by 2022.
  2. Lobby central Government to agree to introduce a mechanism to control the conversion of first to second homes in the Lake District, and to remove the small business rates exemption for furnished holiday homes by 2023.
  3. Lobby mortgage lenders to agree to be more flexible when lending on properties with local occupancy controls, and review annually.
  4. Deliver the projects within the Windermere Gateway area to improve Windermere Station, and deliver affordable housing (circa 160 units) and employment space through
    1. Delivery of Windermere Station improvements;
    2. Delivery of highway improvements
    3. Delivery of site allocation CSE01M.
  5. Continue to support the multi-agency visitor management response to the Covid-19 pandemic including delivering the Visitor Management Tactical Action Plans.
  6. Work with businesses, transport operators and infrastructure providers to help connect people with jobs in rural areas they couldn’t otherwise take through the provision of an effective and innovative rural bus service.
  7. Secure private financing in natural capital drawing on the Partnerships investment ready schemes, including working through the National Park’s Partnerships Net Zero for Nature programme
  8. To maximise the opportunities presented by the Project Gigabit Cumbria pilot project to connect gigabit capable broadband in hard to reach premises in the Lake District.
  9. For those premises which will not be covered by Project Gigabit, we will work with communities to help promote the opportunity presented by ‘altnet’ providers to connect rural communities to gigabit capable broadband.

A number of additional actions we aim to deliver are identified in the list showing how we will deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.

Background information is available for this key challenge.

Our measures of success include:

  • No net increase in homes used as a second home in those areas where 25 per cent of the housing stock is not used as permanent residential.
  • Delivery of affordable housing in all Districts in the National Park for social rent.
  • Access the broadband as close to 100 per cent as possible.
  • Core areas of nature recovery will cover at least 10% of the National Park by 2025.

Research priorities

  • Understanding the future opportunities for farm diversification in the Lake District.
  • What are the financial costs to a local economy with respect to non-permanent residences in communities?
  • How do we attract young people to stay or arrive in the Park?
  • What makes a holistically sustainable rural community (including research covering housing, employment, services and transport)?
  • Develop location and skill-specific data on employment requirements.

More information can be found in the research framework

  • Family at Windermere - Cumbria Tourism

    Family at Windermere - Cumbria Tourism

  • Broadgate aerial - Adrian Naik / LDNPA

    Broadgate aerial - Adrian Naik / LDNPA

  • New housing in Staveley - Rob Allison / LDNPA

    New housing in Staveley - Rob Allison / LDNPA

  • Lakes Alive - Pete Carr

    Lake Alive - Pete Carr

  • Shopping in Keswick - Dave Willis / Cumbria Tourism

    Shopping in Keswick - Dave Willis / Cumbria Tourism

The other key challenges

This challenge does not operate in isolation, you may also be interested the four other key challenges: