Graphic map showing Windermere Gateway projects

Windermere Gateway

What is the Windermere Gateway?

Locals and visitors alike enjoy Windermere’s unique offer and stunning centre; but the town’s transport network and lack of affordable housing is under strain. Vehicle access to Windermere station and the town centre are inefficient, key junctions can be congested, whilst pedestrian and cycle links are poor.

Windermere Gateway is a major project, involving landowners, businesses, stakeholders and developers, all working together to secure a vibrant future for Windermere. It will unlock opportunities for a mix of new homes, jobs, sustainable transport connections and a real sense of arrival for residents and visitors alike. Proposals will be progressive, yet sensitive to its world class landscape and natural beauty. It is an ambitious and considered plan for a prosperous future.

What’s happening now?

The first planning application, for highways and access infrastructure, is expected in early 2024.

Developers, Urban Splash held their first public consultation event on Tuesday 5 March at The Marchesi Centre, Windermere, providing an opportunity for local people to feedback on first phase highways and access infrastructure proposals.

For more information, and to see the display boards shared at the consultation event, please see their webpage using the following link - Windermere Infrastructure Planning Consultation | Urban Splash

Image at the top of the page shows an illustration of the proposed transport interchange and public realm, the railway station improvements, highways and access, employment hub and land for housing. View a larger image of the Windermere Gateway proposal.

The Vision for Windermere Gateway

Establish a transformational new gateway for Windermere which sustainably connects to the onward travel network and significantly contributes to the vibrancy of the town by delivering affordable and local needs housing, employment opportunities, and improved sustainable travel opportunities for residents and visitors. The intervention will deliver design excellence, sensitive to the world class landscape in which it is situated.

The Windermere Gateway Transport Infrastructure Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)

The Windermere Gateway Transport Infrastructure Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) was adopted on the 15 December 2021. The full SPD, adoption statement and consultation responses can be found using the links below:

Supplementary Planning Document (pdf)

Adoption Statement (pdf)

Windermere Gateway Consultation Responses (pdf)

Delivering the Windermere Gateway

Since the adoption of the Supplementary Planning Document, the Windermere Gateway has continued to make progress, through close collaboration with partners within the Vision Group and establishing a programme of works. The graphic below shows how the proposals adopted in the SPD will be delivered through a series of projects. View a larger version of this image here.

Graphic showing how SPD interventions are being delivered through a series of projects

The sections below provide more detail about each of these projects, including a project overview, project update and indicative timescales.

All projects remain in development and are subject to change to reflect the current design stage, planning requirements, funding requirements/availability, and current planning policies.

Highways and Access Infrastructure

Project Overview

In bringing forward much-needed homes for Windermere, its important that necessary infrastructure improvements are first made in order to faciliate any future development.

Plans to upgrade existing highways infrastructure will prioritise sustainable transport, with a focus on pedestrians and cyclists, in line with aspirations of the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).

The scale of the proposals will seek to be sensitive to the context in which they sit, minimising harmful impact on the landscape and historic environment.

Images depicting walking and cycling interventions

Project Update

When the Windermere Gateway Transport Infrastructure SPD was adopted in 2021, solutions were explored by Cumbria County Council and their design consultant to address the existing highways and traffic challenges within the area.

High level concept options, including roundabout solutions, were put forward to address some of the issues, but remained subject to further review and an understanding of cost.

Further engineering and safety assessments determined that these options were not deliverable or feasible due to insufficient area within the highways, in addition to challenging gradients which would be unsuitable for a range of different vehicles using it.

Since this time, numerous options looking at how the ambitions in the SPD to address highways have been explored. View a timeline of this process here.

Urban Splash are working on proposals to deliver some of the highways interventions identified within the SPD. These proposals, which are subject to a planning application, will be essential enabling works to help bring forward future homes.

Solutions at the top of high street and onward pedestrian/cycle connections through Windermere remain a priority of the programme and will be explored as part of future studies.

Click here to find more information on Urban Splash’s webpage.

Click here to find more information on Westmorland and Furness Council's webpage.

Timescales

Planning Application anticipated 2024

Housing

Project Overview

Housing proposals will seek to provide high-quality, affordable, new homes for Windermere, putting sustainability at the forefront, adopting sustainable drainage strategies, creating improved cycle and pedestrian routes, promoting open space, green infrastructure and habitat creation.

Project Update

In 2019, Urban Splash were appointed by landowner, National Trust, as developer partner to take forward the shared vision for housing and employment needs on the allocated land at Orrest Head Farm.

Ambitious proposals, which are subject to a future planning application, seek to deliver in the region of 200-250 new homes for Windermere.

In line with policy, all homes will be secured for permanent occupancy, supporting the delivery of new local homes for local people. i.e. not second homes or holiday lets.

Urban Splash will be working with a local, registered provider to bring forward the affordable homes on site.

The proposals for housing are at an early stage and are subject to further design development. There will be opportunities for the public to engage with the plans for the housing at a future consultation date.

Click here to find more information on Urban Splash’s webpage.

Timescales

Outline planning application anticipated 2024

Employment

Project Overview

A new Lake District Office for the National Trust will enhance the new gateway into Windermere, underpin the economic success of the town, create new workspaces and be well situated to make the most of improved transport links.

Project Update

As part of the proposals (which are subject to a future planning application), the National Trust plan to move from its current Grasmere office to a new, purpose-built office at the Orrest Head Farm site. This new office seeks to create a sustainable working space that is fit for the future and meets the changing needs of the charity’s staff and partners.

The opportunity for a new office will provide a central point for National Trust staff to deliver their work, creating collaborative working space next to transport links for sustainable travel and supporting accessible working for their teams.

The existing listed farmhouse and listed stone-barn are currently being assessed for repair. The purpose will be reviewed as part of the plans alongside the new-build office for Trust staff.

Click here to find more information on National Trust's webpage.

Timescales

Outline planning application anticipated 2024

Station Improvements

Project Overview

Improvements to the existing railway station at Windermere will create an enhanced sense of arrival and better facilities for rail and bus passengers to the town, offering visitors a greater, world-class welcome to the Lake District.

Project Update

Ambitions to create a new transport interchange at the station continue to be central to the vision for the Windermere Gateway.

To understand the possibilities of how to create this transformational new gateway an initial feasibility study was undertaken in 2023.

The Windermere Gateway station improvement feasibility study received £45,000 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and was administered by Westmorland and Furness Council.

The study assessed the existing station area and, through stakeholder engagement workshops, looked at existing opportunities, constraints before continuing on to explore potential solutions.

Initial ideas ranged from low to high level of intervention. Low level interventions included minor improvements such as real time passenger information boards (RTPI), lighting upgrades, forecourt surface upgrades and new signage. High level interventions looked at opportunities to move existing railway buffers to create links across the booths car park, a new station building, upgraded surfaces, signage, lighting and public realm areas.

High level costs have been provided for each of the options, ranging from circa £300,000 to £7,500,000. The level of works to be delivered will ultimately be determined by the funding that can be made available.

Opportunities to take advantage of redistributed HS2 monies through the Local Transport Fund (LTF) are currently being explored with Westmorland and Furness Council.

Network Rail continue to be partners involved in the project Vision Group, and have reviewed the concept studies.

Click here to find more information on Westmorland and Furness Council's webpage.

Timescales

To be determined

Transport interchange & Public realm

Project Overview

Supported by the delivery of the station improvements, aspirations for Windermere’s new transport interchange seek to create a hub of activity for a range of passengers in addition to significant upgrades to the immediate area through forecourt enhancements, public realm interventions and improved wayfinding.

Project Update

Ambitions to create a new transport interchange at the station continue to be central to the vision for the Windermere Gateway.

To understand the possibilities of how to create this transformational new gateway an initial feasibility study was undertaken in 2023 as part of the station improvements study.

The study assessed the existing station and car park area and, through stakeholder engagement workshops, looked at existing opportunities, constraints before continuing on to explore potential solutions to improve this space for people to switch modes of transport.

Network Rail continue to be partners involved in the project Vision Group, and have reviewed the concept studies.

Click here to find more information on Westmorland and Furness Council's webpage.

Timescales

To be determined

Our Partners

We will continue to work with Westmorland and Furness Council, Network Rail, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, Windermere Town Council, the National Trust and their development partner, Urban Splash, as well as key landowners/local businesses to deliver the Windermere Gateway.

Key partner logos

Frequently Asked Questions

Will this development lead to further development into other field areas?

The development is specific to the Windermere Gateway area and land allocation CSE01M (CSE01M - Land at Orrest Head Farm, Windermere : Lake District National Park). Neighbouring fields are not identified as allocated land in the local plan.

How will the homes be prevented from becoming holiday lets or second homes?

Our planning policies require that all homes be permanently occupied through occupancy planning conditions. In the event that there is found to be a breach of these conditions, the planning enforcement team will take action, and this could lead to prosecution.

What is the local need for homes in the Lake District National Park?

The Local Plan indicates a level of identified need of 1,200 new permanent homes between 2020-2035 to meet local community need. We are working closely with Westmorland and Furness council on the collective ambition to bring forward these homes for the community. Supporting evidence can be found within the Council’s Strategic Housing Needs Assessment (SHENA) and Strategic House Market Area Assessment (SHMAA).

How many houses will be affordable?

The developer is working on a scheme for the site, but a planning application has not yet been submitted for the housing. In line with policy, all homes will be secured for permanent occupancy, supporting the delivery of new local homes for local people. i.e. not second homes or holiday lets).

Click here to find more information on Urban Splash’s webpage.

What happened to the tourism element of the site allocation?

The developer is working on a scheme for the site, but a planning application has not yet been submitted.

Click here to find more information on Urban Splash’s webpage.

What is the employment space going to be?

The National Trust will move from its current Grasmere office to a new, purpose-built office at the Orrest Head farm site. This new office (which will be subject to a future planning application) will create a sustainable working space that is fit for the future and meets the changing needs of the charity’s staff and partners.

Click here to find more information on National Trust's webpage.

Will there be an increase in traffic resulting from the development, and is will there be sufficient parking provision within the site?

The developer is working on a scheme for the site, but a planning application has not yet been submitted. There will be more pre-application consultation events to find out more information about parking and site layout. A transport assessment will accompany this planning application for highway improvements which will outline and consider the impact of the anticipated traffic movements from the housing and employment schemes.

Click here to find more information on Urban Splash’s webpage.

Click here to find more information on Westmorland and Furness Council's webpage.

What evidence do you have that there is a demand for increased pedestrian and cycle routes? Particularly along the A591 From Windermere towards Ings?

The A591 is currently a Sustrans route and thereby part of the national walking and cycle network. The proposals will seek to align with the aspirations set out in the Supplementary Planning Document i.e. Improve cycling and walking connections linking the site allocation to the station as well as the existing onward travel network.

Click here to find more information on Westmorland and Furness Council's webpage.

What has happened to the roundabouts originally put forward?

When the Windermere Gateway Transport Infrastructure SPD was adopted in 2021, solutions were explored by Cumbria County Council and their design consultant to address the existing highways and traffic challenges within the area. High level concept options, including roundabouts, were put forward but remained subject to further review.

Further engineering and safety assessments determined that these options were not deliverable or feasible due to insufficient area within the highways, in addition to challenging gradients which would be unsuitable for a range of different vehicles using it.

Since this time, numerous options looking at how the ambitions in the SPD to address highways have been explored.

Urban Splash are working on proposals to deliver some of the highways interventions identified within the SPD. These proposals, which are subject to a planning application, will be essential enabling works to help bring forward future homes.

Solutions at the top of high street and onward pedestrian/cycle connections through Windermere remain a priority of the programme and will be explored as part of future studies.

Click here to find more information on Westmorland and Furness Council's webpage.

Why are there no proposals for the station interchange?

Ambitions to create a new transport interchange at the station continue to be central to the vision for the Windermere Gateway. An initial feasibility study to explore options in this area was commissioned by Westmorland and Furness Council in 2023. The Vision Group are working to secure funding to develop options further and bring these works forward.

Click here to find more information on Westmorland and Furness Council's webpage.

Will there be more consultation events?

Yes. The proposals for housing are at an early stage and are subject to further design development. There will be opportunities for the public to engage with the plans for the housing at a future consultation date.