Update 10th January 2022

The Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) has now adopted its Windermere Gateway Transport Infrastructure Delivery Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) - see here

We and many others commented on a draft of the document back in summer 2021, but we are disappointed that the document has now been finalised with only limited changes. 

We had urged that the LDNPA reconsider the narrow scope of the document and instead take the opportunity to prepare a proper masterplan for the large site allocated for development at Orrest Head Farm – see here. This site is potentially the largest single development proposed in the Lake District National Park since its designation as a nationally protected landscape. It’s also a very complex site in terms of both context and the mix of development types proposed. It is therefore vital that every opportunity is taken to get it right, using the full range of tools available. 

A masterplanning approach for the site would help to ensure that factors such as the landscape, biodiversity, cultural heritage, green infrastructure, affordable housing, drainage, carbon reduction and meeting the needs of the Windermere community could be looked at together in a comprehensive way. These, along with opportunities for movement to, from, within and through the site, as well as  connectivity with the wider National Park, could then inform the design and layout of the site at the outset. Discussions during the Examination in Public of the LDNPA’s local plan gave a very clear impression that this is what was proposed. However, the finalised document still only relates to changes to transport infrastructure in the area around Windermere Station, including a new roundabout. 

We also remain very concerned that Climate Change is referred to in the document only once, and the Zero Carbon Cumbria's target of net zero by 2037, which the LDNPA has committed to, is not mentioned. 

We know that building new roads and making car travel more convenient actually induces additional traffic, increasing greenhouse gas emissions and moving congestion elsewhere rather than reducing it and failing to encourage and enable more sustainable options. The SPD should set out how improved car-free travel choices will be facilitated, but the focus on car-based travel and car parking development in the document fundamentally conflicts with the shift to other modes of transport that we all want to see and which is essential for tackling climate change and reducing congestion in Windermere and across the Park.


Update 23 July 2021

We have now prepared our response to proposals for the Windermere Gateway Development.

You can read our response here.

We are concerned that the draft Supplementary Planning Document only covers off-site highway improvements in any detail. Our response urges the Lake District National Park Authority to instead expand the scope of the document to create a development brief or masterplan for the development as a whole. This will enable important factors such as landscape, green infrastructure, biodiversity, drainage, sustainable travel options and carbon reduction to inform the layout of the site and be designed into this major scheme from the outset.

You can still have your say before the deadline of 12 noon on Friday 30th July 2021.

It is important to remember that the site is allocated for development in the local plan, so objections to the development in principle will carry limited weight.

To respond to the consultation, you can complete an online survey, respond by email [email protected] or write to the LDNPA: Local Plans Team, LDNPA, Murley Moss, Kendal, LA9 7RL.

If you do respond to the National Park Authority, we would really appreciate your letting us know that you have done so and what your thoughts were by emailing [email protected] .

Further background information to the proposals can be found below.

13 July 2021

The Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) has launched a public consultation on proposals for a significant housing, employment and tourism development on the edge of Windermere town.

The site is made up of mainly greenfield land at Orrest Head Farm, on the eastern edge of Windermere between the A591 and the railway line and is allocated for development in the Lake District Local Plan for approximately 150 houses, 1200m2 employment development and 3800m2 tourism development (reference CSE01M: Land at Orrest Head Farm, Windermere).

We objected to this site being included in the Local Plan and argued that it was ‘major development’, which national policy only allows in National Parks in exceptional circumstances. However, the Planning Inspectors that approved the final Local Plan did not agree that the site should be removed. Inclusion in the Local Plan in effect gives the site ‘outline’ planning permission so comments on the principle or the size of the site are unlikely to be given significant weight.

Once finalised, the proposals, will form a Supplementary Planning Document, providing guidance for a later planning application.

As one of the biggest single developments in the national park since it was created it’s vital that it is planned carefully to ensure that benefits are secured for the landscape, biodiversity, sustainable travel and the Windermere community. It is important that local people and others who care about the National Park get involved and have their say on what’s proposed.

Details of the proposals are on the Lake District National Park Authority’s website presented as a series of drop-down ‘document sections’ across two pages, plus a Frequently Asked Questions page. Looking at all three in turn is the best way to get the full picture of what is proposed, see the links below:

https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/planning/planningpolicies/windermere-gateway

https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/planning/planningpolicies/windermere-gateway/supplementary-planning-document-requirements

https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/planning/planningpolicies/windermere-gateway/faqs

We consider these to be the main points, which may provide a starting point for your own response:

  • The Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) is very focused on transport infrastructure. Although important, a site of this scale needs a more comprehensive master-planning approach to ensure that wider benefits including for landscape, biodiversity, cultural heritage, green infrastructure, affordable housing are secured in the most appropriate way. They are too important to be left to the application stage.
  • The proposals lack any options for the layout of the site itself, including where landscaping, green space, pedestrian and cycle routes might go.
  • Although focused on transport, the plans are very car-orientated, including two new roundabouts, alterations to the one-way system and junctions and increased car-parking capacity. The Lake District National Park Authority’s Smarter Travel plan is not mentioned and any sustainable travel proposals are unambitious.
  • There are many references to heritage and the need to enhance the ‘sense of arrival’ at the World Heritage Site, but landscape seems lower in priority and there are fewer mentions of the site also being in a national park.
  • The protection of views from the site is mentioned, but little attention is paid to views towards the site.
  • It is important that the level of affordable housing delivered is in line with the policy requirement for the first five to be for local occupancy and the rest affordable and that the housing mix closely reflects genuine local needs in terms of type, size and tenure.
  • As it stands, the SPD misses the opportunity to ensure this large, greenfield site is properly planned to minimise landscape impact, fit in with local character, enhance biodiversity and integrate well into the town in terms of walking and cycling to ‘set out the stall’ for the LDNPA’s ambitions for reduced car use and increased sustainable travel in the national park and to start delivering on these.
  • We very much support the delivery of a passing loop to increase capacity and support service increases and improvements on the Windermere line.
  • We welcome the principle of enhancing Windermere Station as a sustainable travel hub, but these proposals lack ambition.
  • We recognise the need to improve traffic flow but these measures should not simply facilitate or encourage greater private car use. Proposals should prioritise improving the experience for buses, coaches, minibuses, cyclists, pedestrians, rail passengers making an onward travel choice, and new parking capacity should support more sustainable options providing facilities for buses, coaches, minibuses, cycles and electric vehicles.

If you do respond to the National Park Authority, we would really appreciate your letting us know and what your thoughts were by emailing [email protected] .

To respond to the consultation, you can complete an online survey, respond by email [email protected] or write to the Lake District National Park Authority: Local Plans Team, LDNPA, Murley Moss, Kendal, LA9 7RL.

The deadline for responses is 12 noon on Friday 30th July 2021.

Image: Windermere from Robin Lane, by Brenda Parsons.