Local Plan consultation deadline extended

Last Updated: 5 October 2021

5 October 2021

The consultation period for the latest stage of a major plan review that will shape the future of South Lakeland has been extended to allow for face-to-face drop-in events to be held.

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) started its review of the Local Plan last year. The consultation is considering 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

This stage of the consultation was due to end at the end of September, but has now been extended to 29 October to allow even more people to have their say.

Due to Covid restrictions the consultation so far has been largely online, with a ‘virtual’ consultation room being set up where visitors can find information and fill out surveys, information on websites and council officers available to speak to online or over the phone.

Many residents, businesses and organisations have already offered feedback during this latest phase of consultation launched in June, but SLDC is keen to hear from as many people as possible and recognises that not everyone will have online access, so a series of Covid-secure in-person drop-in events have now been arranged during October.

Councillor Helen Chaffey, SLDC’s portfolio holder for Housing and the Local Plan, explained: “We were always keen to host some face-to-face drop-in events as part of the consultation, once Covid restrictions allowed, so that people had the option to attend in person to find out more, ask questions and hopefully give us their views.

“To enable this, we’ve extended the consultation deadline by another month to the end of October, and have planned five drop-ins next month at venues in Kirkby Lonsdale, Milnthorpe, Kendal, Ulverston and Grange.

“All these events will be Covid secure and a number of measures will be in place to offer reassurance and keep visitors and our staff safe.’’

The drop-ins will be held on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, 12 October, Kirkby Lonsdale Lunesdale Hall
  • Friday, 15 October, Milnthorpe M: Hub
  • Monday, 18 October, Town Council Chamber, Kendal Town Hall
  • Wednesday, 20 October, Ulverston Coronation Hall
  • Friday, 22 October, Grange Victoria Hall

All drop-ins will run from 3pm to 7pm.

  • Covid secure measures at all events will include (but are not limited to) a requirement to wear face masks, hand sanitisation, social distancing, and following a one-way system. Windows and doors will be opened to ensure good ventilation. Warm clothing is therefore advised.
  • There will be a limit on the number of people at an event at any one time. At busy times visitors may be asked to queue, or to limit their time in the event for the safety and comfort of everyone attending.
  • Visitors are requested not to attend if they have had a recent positive test or have symptoms of Covid 19, in order to limit the spread of infection.
  • All the events will be reviewed in consultation with the Council’s Health and Safety Officer 48 hours prior to taking place to ensure staff and visitor safety. Should an event need to be cancelled, the information will be updated online at: www.southlakeland.gov.uk/LocalPlanReviewIO. Anyone wishing to attend an event is advised to check the website beforehand to ensure it is still going ahead.
  • Alternatively, you can contact South Lakeland District Council by emailing Development.Plans@southlakeland.gov.uk or by calling 01539 733333 for further information.

Councillor Chaffey continued: “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.

“Despite the current process to reorganise local government in Cumbria, it’s still important that we have an up-to-date development plan for the area until such time as the new unitary authority draws up its own plan, and that could be some time into the future. In the meantime we need a properly consulted-on plan to provide the protections and policies to support our decision-making on these vitally important matters.

“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 and that’s why we hope that anyone who cares about the future of our area will want to be involved in this review.’’

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 current ‘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

Timeline for the Local Plan Review

Stage

Date

Early conversations

Early 2020

‘Issues and Options’ Consultation

Summer/autumn 2021

Draft Plan Consultation

Summer 2022

Formal Representations

Spring 2023

Public Examination

Autumn 2023

Adopting the Local Plan

Spring 2024