Policy 09: North Distinctive Area

What we're trying to achieve

[3.09.01] We want development in Distinctive Areas to effectively demonstrate the key themes of the Vision and reinforce the distinctiveness of place, whilst also enabling localised solutions to specific planning issues.

Policy 09: North Distinctive Area

Development in the North Distinctive Area will reinforce distinctiveness of
place, deliver key themes of the Vision and enable local solutions to specific
planning issues.

To achieve this we will:
– support the provision of more bungalows and two-bed properties to help address the mismatch between the severe lack of availability and the high aspirations/expectation of local communities for this type of dwelling and reflect the need for smaller properties;
– support development that retains the Mary Hewitson Hospital and safeguards it for the purposes of securing long term health care provision in Keswick;
– support the development of a new leisure centre and pool in Keswick. Any new leisure facility will need to reflect its remarkable and unique setting both in design and uses, maximising its connectivity with the outdoors;
– support flood resilient sporting facilities for the community based at Keswick School;
– secure enhancements through development opportunities to ‘the Ginnels’ in Keswick, and connectivity between the town and lake;
– secure solutions to car parking problems at Catbells and Seathwaite,
– consider opportunities for recreation and leisure uses of Town Cass, subject to ground conditions, where it would lead to conservation of the landscape character;
– consider the redevelopment of and/or extension to the Field Study Council site at Blencathra as an environmental education centre;
– consider the enhancement of the Theatre by the Lake and its facilities to consolidate its regional role as a cultural centre and attract new audiences;
– secure a Masterplan for the Whinlatter Centre, including valley-scale landscape restoration, redevelopment and expansion of its recreational and leisure uses. This may include new visitor accommodation utilising the topography of the landform. Proposals should not adversely impact on surrounding settlements, and should secure a net improvement in traffic flows at Braithwaite Village, a net reduction in parking at the Whinlatter Centre, together with an increased role for Keswick as a transport interchange hub;
– secure improvements through development which deliver enhancements of the foreshore at Keswick and Isthmus Wood and Peninsula, where it would conserve the unique character of the area; consider opportunities for park and ride/walk facilities on the northern edge of Keswick. Any proposal will need to demonstrate how it secures onward travel by sustainable transport and helps to address traffic congestion in Keswick and surrounding areas. Proposals will need to be considered as part of a package of improvements in Keswick. Consideration will also be given to facilities to improve visitor experiences and use of the fells from this location;
– consider additional car parking at existing town centre car parks if changes to on-street parking restrictions in residential areas reduce the overall capacity available to visitors in Keswick.

We anticipate that approximately 25 per cent of all development will take place in the North Distinctive Area.

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Current Situation

[3.09.02] First developed in 2010, Distinctive Areas refine the Spatial Strategy by setting out our intended approach for each of the five Distinctive Areas of the Lake District. They reflect the subtly distinctive characteristics, specific issues and challenges of each area that are in some ways unique from one another, thus making the strategy innovative, clearly spatial and locally distinctive. Distinctive Area solutions are designed to address specific planning issues in each area that would otherwise be considered different to the overall approach of the generic policies.

[3.09.03] The Distinctive Area policies give a spatial distribution of the percentage of development we anticipate being delivered in each area. It does not provide a precise breakdown of the amount of development that should be directed to each settlement as our spatial strategy is founded on a local needs-led approach.


[3.09.04] The Distinctive Area policies aim to deliver the four themes of the Vision across the Distinctive Areas in the Lake District, as well as deliver tailored solutions to specific planning issues being experienced in certain parts of the Lake District.

[3.09.05] Applications for planning permission will still be considered against all relevant polices in the Local Plan to determine the acceptability of the proposal. For certain developments a project level Habitats Regulation Assessment may also be required having regard to the impact pathways identified in the Appropriate Assessment (2019).

[3.09.06 ]The anticipated approximate percentage of development considers both the spatial hierarchy and population data. It is designed to give sufficient certainty without stifling flexibility as a result of being unnecessarily prescriptive, thereby maximising development opportunities. Prescribed apportionments of development for each settlement within the Distinctive Areas have not been set. However, it is possible to calculate an approximation of the level of development that is likely to take place in each settlement over the plan period. The spatial strategy is founded on a needs-led approach, and this may fluctuate over the plan period.

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