A concern of many people is that house prices in the National Park are unaffordable and that National Park status would make it harder for young people to own a house in the area. Evidence shows that house prices in designated areas are higher than outside. However, detailed evidence from all the planning authorities within Cumbria shows that the gap between local wages and house prices within many parts of the proposed extension area is already as great as the average prices within the National Park. The District and Borough Councils work with the LDNPA and all local planning/housing authorities across the whole of rural Cumbria to promote more local and affordable needs housing.  Although the proportion of new houses is small compared to the existing stock, in all of these areas any new homes must have a local and/or affordable occupancy tie.  This is essential to prevent more second and holiday homes that can result if speculative open market housing is allowed.  The greatest proportion of new housing will be developed on allocated sites within and adjacent to settlements.

Another concern is that the planning policies for the National Park will be more restrictive than those currently in place. However, the similarities in planning restrictions within and outside a National Park area are much greater than the differences, and that the perception of more regulation is usually far higher than the reality.  The benefits of planning by an NPA identified in Defra research in 2011 were a cohesive approach to planning over the NP area and a focus on community engagement. This is not the same as saying that the approach would be more restrictive.

As the body responsible for all planning matters within the National Park from strategic policy-setting to development control, the NPA take a coordinated, consistent and clear approach to their planning remit, to the benefit of all those living within.  The NPA formulates planning policy in close consultation with the communities affected and special interest groups and offer a high level of support and advice to anyone wishing to make a planning application.  The NPA’s work on development control compares favourably in terms of the work of other local planning authorities – figures from Communities and Local Government show that they have equivalent or higher approval rates for planning applications than other planning authorities.  These figures are averages however and include the major towns of Kendal, Barrow and Whitehaven, so in reality the approval rate in the rural areas should be the same within and outside the National Park.

In terms of the Lake District, figures for planning application approval rates are given below for 2017 

Planning authority

Total applications

% decisions delegated to officers

% applications approved

Barrow BC




Copeland BC




South Lakeland DC




Lake District NPA