Help shape the future of South Lakeland

Last Updated: 2 July 2021

30 June 2021 

Residents are being invited to have their say on the next stage of a major plan that will shape the future of South Lakeland.

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) has today (30 June) started the latest phase of its review of the Local Plan, which considers everything from what employment and housing the area needs to how its historic character and special landscapes can be protected.

South Lakeland Local Plan logo

Councillor Helen Chaffey, SLDC’s portfolio holder for Housing and the Local Plan, explained: “South Lakeland is a special place to live and to work. It is an area that regularly features among the best in the UK for its quality of life.

“But keeping it special doesn’t happen by accident. The planning system and the Local Plan have a big role to play.

“We need to regularly update the Local Plan to make sure it continues to meet the challenges facing our area. In particular we need to ensure that the right kinds of housing and development, of the right design and quality, happen in the right place and meet local needs.

“We also need to ensure that the impact of any new development is well managed and that the Local Plan works to further the council’s strong commitment to take action on climate change and biodiversity loss.

“That is why we are currently reviewing the Local Plan, and why we hope that anyone who cares about the future of our area will want to be involved.’’

The Local Plan covers the areas of South Lakeland outside the national parks and allocates sites for housing and employment. It also contains the policies that the council will use to decide whether to grant planning permissions for new development and how any development will be managed.

But it doesn’t just set out rules – it also seeks to set the framework for making the area even better, for example by reducing the environmental impact of new development and supporting measures to tackle climate change, plans to improve town centres, building affordable housing, helping protect wildlife and enhancing green open spaces, reducing flood risk and improving infrastructure such as roads and cycleways.

SLDC started reviewing its Local Plan in early 2020, but the revised Local Plan won’t be adopted until 2024 following several more consultation phases, including a full public examination of the proposals.

Last year the council started to ask people how they saw the future of South Lakeland and what they thought was important in planning for the next 20 years.

Building on what people said during that early part of the consultation the council is presenting some of the key emerging themes at the ‘Issues and Options’ stage.

At this stage the council is inviting views on how issues may be addressed, for example how new development might respond to the climate crisis, how many homes need to be built to meet demand and how town centres can manage and adapt, particularly post-pandemic.

The key issues have been grouped under eight themes:

  • tackling climate change
  • where should new development go?
  • market towns, villages and rural areas
  • healthy people and communities
  • meeting housing needs
  • supporting a sustainable economy
  • greener travel, transport and infrastructure delivery
  • enhancing the natural and built environment.

Councillor Chaffey added: “It’s a great time to get involved because everything is still up for discussion and no decisions have been made.

“We are seeing some key themes emerging but it’s important to note that, at this stage of the Local Plan process, we are looking at many different options and listening to people’s views before any decisions are made about allocating sites for new development.

“Some possible sites were suggested last year to help meet housing and employment needs up to 2040, and the council is inviting further site suggestions now. But these will need to be assessed to see which, if any, are even suitable to be recommended for inclusion in the Local Plan.

“Any sites that are recommended for inclusion will then be subject to full public consultation in 2022 and approved by an independent planning inspector before any are formally allocated.

“We want people to think about not just the here and now, but what is best for the future of the area – the things that your children or grandchildren will want from future development.

“That is why we are keen to hear from anyone who lives, works or studies in the area. We’re reaching out to all our residents, families, businesses and organisations and we’ve written to schools and colleges to involve young people in these important decisions that will affect their futures.

“The Local Plan will look ahead to 2040 and beyond so it’s a long term plan. We want the Local Plan to be everyone’s plan for the future of South Lakeland.’’

How to get involved

  • visit the virtual consultation room to walk around virtual exhibition boards and find links to an online survey and consultation documents
  • browse the Local Plan document library on the SLDC website or at council offices and libraries, where you can view the Issues and Options Report and find a range of supporting documents
  • talk to a planning officer. Officers from SLDC’s Local Plan team will be available to speak to online or on the phone (see the SLDC website for details and times when an officer will be available)
  • respond to the online survey
  • sign up to the mailing list so that you’ll be notified of any upcoming consultations and receive newsletter updates
  • Keep an eye out for a series of ‘in person’ drop-in events in September. SLDC is closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation and if it’s safe to do so will arrange some ‘in person’ drop-in events in September. More information will be published about this in due course.

Timeline for the Local Plan Review

Stage

Date

Early conversations

Early 2020

‘Issues and Options’ Consultation

Summer 2021

Draft Plan Consultation

Summer 2022

Formal Representations

Spring 2023

Public Examination

Autumn 2023

Adopting the Local Plan

Spring 2024