Your chance to help shape the future of South Lakeland

Last Updated: 13 August 2021

Hundreds of people have so far used their laptops, phones and tablets to find out more about the next stage of a major plan to help shape South Lakeland’s future.

South Lakeland Local Plan logo

Earlier this summer South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) launched a virtual exhibition space, online survey and document library in response to the Covid pandemic, to enable residents to find out more about the South Lakeland Local Plan from their own homes - rather than gathering in person at venues such as village and town halls, where such consultations have traditionally taken place.

The ‘Issues and Options’ stage of the Local Plan has now reached its halfway point, and people have until 30 September 2021 to share their thoughts on everything from what homes and jobs the district needs between now and 2040, to how its historic character and special landscapes can be protected.

In the virtual consultation room, people can “walk around” virtual exhibition boards, watch an introductory video presented by council Leader Cllr Jonathan Brook and Local Plan Portfolio Holder Cllr Helen Chaffey, and find links to an online survey and consultation documents.

People can also join a virtual drop-in session with officers from the council’s Local Plan team. These sessions are being held twice weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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.

The council is keen to hear from anyone who lives, works or studies in South Lakeland, and has reached out to residents, families, businesses and organisations, as well as schools and colleges to help involve young people in these important decisions that will affect their future.

Councillor Helen Chaffey, SLDC’s Portfolio Holder for Housing and the Local Plan, explained: “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 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.

“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.’’

The council started reviewing its Local Plan in 2020 by asking people how they saw the future of South Lakeland and what they thought was important in planning for the next 20 years. Drop-in events were held in Grange-over-Sands, Kirkby Lonsdale and Ulverston, attended by more than 100 people in total, but the dates in Kendal and Milnthorpe had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

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. The eight themes are:

  • 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.

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 revised Local Plan won’t be adopted until 2024 following several more consultation phases, including a full public examination of the proposals.

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
  • Join our the mailing list so that you’ll be notified of any upcoming consultations and receive newsletter updates
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

For more information, please contact the SLDC Communications Team on 01539 793 300.