Roanhead Lodge Development

Update February 2024 - revised planning application received for Roanhead  

After huge opposition to plans for a 450-lodge holiday resort at Roanhead, the developers have now changed their application, reducing the number of lodges to 233.  Our view is that the development would still have a major impact on this sensitive stretch of coastline, despite the reduction in the planned number of lodges. Please help us object again - previous responses won't count. 

Read our latest response (Feb 2024) here, and the Appendix here

Update January 2024 

After withdrawing their initial application in December 2023, the developers have submitted a new application for a reduced number of lodges (233). The size of the accompanying holiday complex facilities remains the same. 

Read our previous July 2023 response here and a review of the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment here

Roanhead Update 27 September 2023

We are aware that a further proposal on land adjacent the 450-lodge Roanhead development is afoot. It comprises 62 lodges, 40 touring caravan/motorhome/ camper pitches and visitor facilities.
At this stage, it is a screening request, meaning the landowner/developer Queensland County Park Ltd. is just asking for Westmorland & Furness Council’s view on whether an Environmental Impact Assessment would be required for such a proposal.  
We continue to work with other relevant organisations and the local community, including the Save Roanhead group, and will give further updates, once we have had chance to see the proposals and consider next steps – we will need to carefully consider the relationship between this and the larger proposal already under consideration. 

Roanhead Farm development risks irreparable harm to nature

We've joined forces with a coalition of nature and landscape charities to object to a serious threat to the internationally significant nature reserve at Sandscale Haws and wider Morecambe Bay and Duddon estuary.

Read more>

Make a Stand on the Sand for Roanhead event makes the News

Our Make a Stand in the Sand event yesterday attracted 80 protestors, to save Roanhead from a 450 holiday lodge development right next to the National Trust Sandscale Haws nature reserve and many other protected sites for nature attracted 80 plus protesters and featured on BBC North West Tonight news.  We also leafletted nearby housing about it. 

Thanks to everyone who turned out for it. It was great to meet so many people and see how passionately concerned people are about the proposal. 

If you agree that this wild place needs saving, please write to object before 23 July. Read our guide to how to do it:

Watch the North West Tonight news feature about it.

Sign up for regular e-news updates about this campaign and our work in Cumbria and the Lake District.

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450-Lodge Resort Development At Roanhead

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

This area is popular with local people for quiet recreation, including walking and bird-watching. The proposal will harm the quality and experience of recreational opportunities, compromise the landscape, including tranquillity, and put pressure on the sensitive dune and intertidal habitats. The proposal is heavily reliant on access by car and there will also be impacts on the narrow local roads. 

We fully recognise the need for regeneration in Barrow and for new jobs and opportunities to be brought to the area.  We also understand the attractiveness of this coastal landscape. However, this proposal is not appropriate for this site for a number of reasons:

  • Impact on landscape character, including tranquillity
  • Visual impact
  • Light pollution impacts on dark skies and biodiversity
  • Impact on species and habitats
  • Impact on enjoyment by local people of an important, much-valued and accessible recreational resource
  • Traffic impacts on narrow local roads and a lack of sustainable transport
  • Instability of the land which is littered with former mine workings and have resulted in a number of sink holes opening up locally, including in recent years
  • Instead, new development should be focused on regenerating the town centre and brownfield sites and should be readily served by public transport.

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Banner image: Roanhead, Sandscale Haws, Walney and the Duddon seen from Black Combe, by Chris Howe


Dear Development Control (or insert Planning Officer name if known)

Then state the Application Reference number and the official description of proposal:

Ref: B06/2023/0307   Roanhead Farm, Hawthwaite Lane, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria

Then begin your response by stating your overall position on the proposal e.g. I object to the above proposal for a large holiday lodge park at Roanhead.


Then add your response - please use your own words but you may wish to use the following as a guide or starting point.

Acceptability of the development in principle

KEY LOCAL PLAN POLICIES to refer to: DS1, DS2, DS3, C2, EC11, GI7

Also refer to LOCAL PLAN  VISION P.8, OBJECTIVES P.9 & DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY  NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) Paragraphs 84C and 85

Key issues/points:

The proposal is large in scale and proposed in a rural area and on a stretch of undeveloped coast that is subject to several local, national and international biodiversity and geodiversity designations on which it will have a significant effect. It is not readily accessible by sustainable modes of transport such as walking, cycling or public transport.

p32 of the Local Plan states ‘The rural areas will remain unspoiled by substantial new development’.

The Local Plan defines Sandscale Haws and Roanhead as ‘undeveloped coast’. Policy C2 only permits development of the undeveloped coast in certain circumstances, which are not met by this proposal.

Policy EC11 only permits development of self-catering holiday accommodation in certain circumstances, which are not met by this proposal.

This type and scale of development at this location is therefore not acceptable in principle. 

Landscape Character Impact, Visual Impact, Dark Skies, Tranquillity

KEY LOCAL PLAN POLICIES to refer to: N1, C2, C7, DS2, GI6, GI7, HC14  NPPF Paragraphs 130C, 174, 185

You may also wish to include here examples of any particular views (from public vantage points or Public Rights of Way) or experiences (dark skies, tranquillity, remoteness, wildness etc) that you enjoy in the Roanhead area and how you feel they would be compromised by the proposals. What would this mean for you and others that enjoy them?

Key issues/points:

The proposal is large in scale and would convert farmland to holiday park, on a sensitive stretch of undeveloped coast. It would bring large numbers of visitors and vehicles to a quiet rural area. It would therefore significantly alter the landscape character of the area and would have clear visual impacts, impacts on views to and from Roanhead and Sandscale Haws and impacts on the currently very dark skies, tranquillity and sense of remoteness and wildness.

Policy N1 requires developments to protect and enhance landscape character as defined in the Cumbria Landscape Character Guidance & Toolkit

The proposal site is located in landscape type 3c ‘Disturbed Areas’. Amongst other things, the Toolkit says of type 3c that authorities should “Resist proposals to reclaim former mining areas for development” and “These areas will be conserved and enhanced to retain their industrial legacy and wildlife interest” and “Given their proximity to urban centres these landscapes can provide opportunities for quiet enjoyment and other recreational activities. However, the areas are susceptible to damage from inappropriate activities”.

The site is also immediately adjacent types 2a Dunes and Beaches and 5c Rolling Lowland. These areas will also be impacted and so the impact on their characteristics and the Toolkit recommendations for these areas are also relevant.

N1 also states that “High protection will be given to the undeveloped coast in order to maintain its openness, tranquillity, heritage and nature conservation value and to maintain the Borough’s recreation and tourism appeal. High protection will also be given to the setting of the Lake District National Park in order to maintain the valued views to and from this nationally designated area, its tranquillity and its attractiveness to tourists”.

The Local Plan defines Sandscale Haws and Roanhead as ‘undeveloped coast’. Policy C2 only permits development of the undeveloped coast in certain circumstances, which are not met by this proposal.

Planning Policy C7 seeks to minimise light pollution. An emerging Technical Advice Note for the whole of Cumbria seeks a net reduction in light pollution across the County.

The potential impact of new lighting is a concern for the wildlife, local character and the tranquillity of the area. This map shows that Roanhead and the proposed development site itself currently enjoy very dark skies.

Tranquillity is a key attribute of the undeveloped coast and of the landscape at Roanhead. Tranquillity can be impacted by artificial light, noise and smells, man-made movement, activity, features and impacts. The local plan refers to the “tranquillity of the stretches of undeveloped coastline”.

Biodiversity & the Natural Environment

KEY LOCAL PLAN POLICIES to refer to: N3, N4, C2, C7, GI1, GI6, GI7, GI8  NPPF Paragraphs 174, 180, 181, 182

You may wish to add details of specific plant and animal species you are aware of in the area and how they will be impacted by the plans.

Key issues/points:

The proposal site lies on or adjacent several local, national and international biodiversity and geodiversity designations. Several rare species use these designations and surrounding area for feeding, breeding, resting, roosting etc.

The proposed development site sits immediately adjacent Sandscale Haws, a National Nature Reserve (NNR) and Local Geological Site (LGS) and the Roanhead Mines County Wildlife Site (CWS) and it would extend into the Duddon Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Duddon Estuary Ramsar Site, Morecambe Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and the Morecambe Bay & Duddon Estuary Special Protection Area (SPA). The site also includes an area of Ancient Woodland.

There will be multiple impacts on these designations as a result of the development, including significant additional recreational pressure, noise, lighting etc.

Putting substantial pressure on such fragile and significant sites for biodiversity at a time when nature is well-documented as being in critical decline and when the importance of nature to humans’ physical and mental well-being and to addressing another existential crisis, climate change, is unacceptable. 

When international designations are affected, developers will include mitigation measures in their plans in an attempt to avoid or reduce the impacts. If their mitigation measures are not considered adequate, they may still get approval if they can demonstrate their proposal has benefits for the public that outweighs the harm. It is therefore crucial to make clear any concerns about the proposed mitigation measures but also to demonstrate why you feel the proposal will not have significant public benefit. 

Impact On Existing Access/Recreational Use and Experience of The Area

KEY LOCAL PLAN POLICIES to refer to: HC1  NPPF Paragraph 98

It will be vital here to explain, using personal examples, just how important this area is for local people for recreation, spiritual refreshment, getting outdoors into a totally different and awe- inspiring, wild, tranquil, natural environment for mental health and educational benefit and what the difference will be to this if the development goes ahead.

Key issues/points:

The area is a vital and accessible resource for local people, including those who may not have the time, money or transport to get into the Lakes or visit other areas to experience wild, tranquil landscapes and nature, or to enjoy quiet recreation.

People currently visit in more sustainable numbers, but significant additional numbers of visitors and the proximity of large numbers of lodges and increased human activity will harm the experience of Roanhead and Sandscale Haws because it will reduce the sense of remoteness, wildness and tranquillity, impact on the much-valued wildlife people can experience here and it will increase litter and dog fouling.

The proposal will potentially impact upon the route of the England Coastal Path and will impact upon the experience of the area by its users. coast-path-silecroft-to-silverdale

The proposal impacts on an identified Green Link (see policy GI6). 

Sustainable Transport and Traffic Impacts 

KEY LOCAL PLAN POLICIES to refer to: I4, I5, I7  NPPF paragraphs 85, 104, 105,

Key issues/points:

The proposal will generate a significant amount of additional traffic, including from staying guests, day guests and workers. The site is not readily accessible by walking, cycling, bus or train, especially for those carrying substantial luggage. Access to the site is via narrow rural lanes that are predominantly single-track rural lanes and used by walkers and horse-riders. The increased number of vehicles and any significant upgrades to the lanes will alter the rural character of the area.

All three former councils that now make up Westmorland & Furness Council had already declared Climate Emergency. This development would increase the need to travel and would not encourage use of sustainable alternatives to the car, and in fact, would do the opposite, and so would be in conflict with this declaration.

Sinkholes/Land instability 

KEY LOCAL PLAN POLICIES to refer to: C4  NPPF Paragraphs 174E, 183, 184

Key issues/points:

The site is located on a former mining area. The Furness area is littered with former mine workings and this has resulted in a number of sink holes opening up locally, in the past and in recent years without warning, sometimes with disastrous consequences. There is a clear health and safety concern regarding the suitability of the land for development. 

You may wish to provide examples of any cases you know about, particularly any close to the site.

Other issues

As we are a landscape charity, Friends of the Lake District’s response will not focus on some matters that we know are of concern to local people, such as:

  • Capacity of the sewage, water or other utility systems;
  • Road safety;
  • Flood risk and surface water run-off;
  • Impacts on existing local residents living nearby such as amenity, privacy etc;
  • Heath & Safety/Danger from water, currents, tides

You can of course add these points or any other additional points and concerns that you wish to include – but be sure to link them back to planning policies if at all possible.


Finish with a brief conclusion summing up what you’ve said and reconfirming your overall position. e.g. I object to the proposal for the reasons set out above and urge the Council to refuse the application.

If you would like to speak at the Planning Committee meeting at which the decision will be made, mention this here too. You can still change your mind later, but it is much easier to say you want to do so now and then pull out than it is to say nothing now and try to get on the list later.

Yours sincerely,

Sign off your email or letter – anonymous responses will not be accepted.


Send your response via email to: [email protected]

Or by post to: 

Development Control,
Westmorland & Furness Council (Barrow), 
Town Hall,
Duke Street,
LA14 2LD.

You can also respond via the Westmorland and Furness council website, but using this function will not allow you to keep a copy of your response or to save it and come back to it later, so you may prefer to email or post your response.