A planning application for a 450-lodge holiday resort and facilities at Roanhead, between Barrow and Askam-in-Furness, threatens a much-valued stretch of coastline, boasting multiple protected sites for nature as well as expansive views to the Lake District fells. 

Landscape charity Friends of the Lake District, which also serves as the Cumbria branch of CPRE-The Countryside Charity and operates across the whole County - vocal in its opposition to this application - has now submitted its written response to the Planning Authority.

It adds to a series of strong objections submitted by environmental, wildlife and conservation charities such as Cumbria Wildlife Trust, the National Trust, the RSPB, the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust and Cumbria GeoConservation.

It has cited multiple concerns about the acceptability of this type and scale of development at this location with particular reference to its impact on local landscape character and visual amenity (views), strongly criticising the quality of the Landscape & Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) submitted with the planning application.

In support of its response, Friends of the Lake District commissioned a review of the LVIA by ‘Douglas Harman Landscape Planning’, a Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute with extensive experience in the production and review of LVIAs.

Commenting on the review, Lorayne Wall, Planning Officer at Friends of the Lake District said:

“It clearly concludes that the LVIA does not accurately consider and describe the proposed development in sufficient detail and its findings are majorly flawed. The approach used does not conform to relevant guidance, and with many significant errors, the LVIA cannot be relied upon to provide a robust understanding of likely effects. Therefore, it is not fit for purpose.”

The review highlights multiple deficiencies with the LVIA including:

  • A map showing areas from which the site will be visible assumes a maximum building height on the site of 4.5m when the application itself says that the facilities buildings will be up to 10m
  • The ‘study area’ used to assess how the surrounding area will be impacted visually is too small given the scale of the proposed development
  • The ratings of the severity of landscape and visual impacts appear to be skewed, resulting in impacts being understated.
  • Several aspects of the methodology used for the LVIA do not follow relevant industry guidance

The charity also identifies multiple conflicts between the proposals and the statutory planning policies set out in the local plan for the area, as well as conflicts with national planning policies.

The Planning Application is currently under consideration by the Westmorland and Furness Council Planning Authority and will be decided at a future meeting of its Strategic Planning Committee.

Read our Response to the Planning Authority and the Review of the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment> 

Pictured: Lake District Fells from Roanhead by Clare Harris