What we're trying to achieve

[3.23.01] We aim to provide the social, recreational and cultural facilities and services our communities need to support healthy lifestyles and address identified local health and well-being needs.

Policy 23: Community facilities and Local Green Space

We want to sustain community and cultural facilities and local services, and ensure communities have improved availability and access to high quality greenspaces and recreation facilities.

We will achieve this by:

  1. supporting development proposals for new, or improvements to existing community facilities and services where they are appropriately located to serve the needs of the community.
  2. supporting development proposals that enable flexible / multi-use of buildings or that combine a range of services and facilities on one site to sustain its long term viability.
  3. resisting the change of use of existing shops, and pubs and drinking establishments to alternative uses outside Primary Shopping Areas unless:
    • the current use is no longer suitable or viable for its purpose; or
    • it can be demonstrated that there are suitable alternatives within the settlement.
  4. only permitting the loss of a Local Green Space designation in special circumstances where:
    • it can be demonstrated that the green space is no longer needed, or
    • a suitably located replacement of at least equivalent standard is secured.
  5. requiring new housing development of ten houses and above and new business parks, large-scale retail and commercial developments (over 1250sqm) to include Amenity Local Green Space to enhance amenity value.

Implementation guidance

[3.23.05] We will resist the loss of a community facility or significant erosion of the viability or quality of a community facility. We will only support the loss of a community facility to other uses where there is compelling justification. Proposals of this nature will be rigorously tested, such as an appropriate marketing exercise to have taken place for a minimum of 12 months. Other evidence may include, but not limited to, evidence of demand from commercial property agents and District Councils.

[3.23.06] New sports and recreation facilities will be considered against evidence of need, guidance for which is provided by Sport England. The Local Green Space designation is identified on the Policies Map. Proposals which would result in the loss of a Local Green Space designation should include clear justification as to why the designation is surplus to requirements. This should demonstrate why the Local Green Space no longer holds a particular local significance, such as, of its beauty, historic significance, landscape setting, recreational value, tranquillity or richness of its wildlife. This could also show there is an excess of playing field provision, which will remain the case should the development be permitted.

[3.23.07] Applications for new or improved communications infrastructure will be assessed against the National Planning Policy Framework and associated guidance.

Current situation

[3.23.02] Within the Lake District there are over 3,000km of rights of way. There is also 1,246sqkm of open access land combining Common Land, Open Access and Dedicated land under the CROW Act 2000. The Authority’s ‘Miles without Stiles’ Initiative helps those with limited mobility to access the countryside by providing suitable paths, and there are currently 48 routes across the Lake District (2018). There are 1.37sqkm (136.6ha) of Amenity Local Green Space and 1.16sqkm (116.1ha) of Recreation Local Green Space allocated primarily in the Rural Service Centres and Villages. We acknowledge the multi-functional benefits open space to both people and nature. However, we do not consider it necessary to safeguard all open space in the Lake District, instead we safeguard Recreation Local Green Space and Amenity Local Green Space. The policies in the Local Plan serve to collectively conserve and enhance the extraordinary beauty and harmony of the Lake District landscape and wildlife and help facilitate opportunities for communities to benefit physically and mentally. When coupled with the approaches set out in the National Planning Policy Framework provides adequate protection.

[3.23.03] The Open Spaces Audit 2020 identifies deficiencies in recreation local green space in some areas of the Lake District. We designated Local Green Spaces in 2013, this designation provides special protection against development of green areas of particular importance to local communities.

[3.23.04] Approximately 94 per cent of the settlements identified in Policy 02: Spatial Strategy have retained access to at least four or more local services as identified in the Annual Monitoring Report 2017–2018. Many of our communities face difficulties in providing and retaining services and community facilities. The impact of second homes and holiday lets in the Lake District means that settlements often have dwindling resident populations which threatens the viability of local schools, healthcare and other facilities such as public houses. Mobile service provision such as the post office, banking services, supermarket delivery, and prescription delivery remain increasingly important for rural communities to maintain access to essential services. Approximately 94 per cent of the settlements identified in Policy 02: Spatial Strategy have retained access to at least four or more local services as identified in the Annual Monitoring Report 2017–2018.