Policy 11: West 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 11: West Distinctive Area

Development in the West 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 infrastructure and service improvements to the Cumbria Coast rail line;
– support the new coastal path, including pedestrian and cycle crossings of the rivers Irt and the Esk, linking in with the wider network;
– support improvements to the pedestrian and cycle links from the railway stations and coastal path into the valley heads to enhance the use of sustainable active travel options;
– support the strengthening of the role of Ravenglass as a transport interchange, providing improved links with Muncaster Castle and to the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway;
– secure solutions to car parking problems in the Wasdale Valley which improve the management of the Three Peak Challenge;
– consider opportunities to strengthen the coastal tourism offer at Silecroft;
– as an exception to Policy 18, consider new caravan and camping sites where proposals are consistent with site specific criteria in Policy 18 and other relevant policies;
– consider development that enhances the role of Bootle and Bootle rail station to act as a sustainable transport hub to serve the wider area;
– consider identifying a Coastal Change Management Area where the rates of shoreline change are significant.

We anticipate that approximately 10 per cent of all development will take place in the West 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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