The district and council fast facts

About our district


  • South Lakeland covers an area of 600 square miles with a variety of landscape features including mountains, fells, lakes, tarns, valleys, pastureland, estuary and coastline
  • there are four main urban areas Kendal, Ulverston, Windermere and Grange over Sands
  • large parts of the district fall within two national parks the Lake District National Park (49% of the land area) and the Yorkshire Dales National Park (14%)


  • the resident population is 104,500 (mid-2018), but this is increased considerably by national and international visitors (ONS)
  • 34% of the population is aged over 60 compared with the national average of 23% (ONS)
  • the average age in South Lakeland is 44 years. Nationally the average age is 38
  • the district has low numbers of resident ethnic minority groups, although this is increased by visitors to the area. In 2011, the resident BME population was just 1.4%, compared to 14.6% nationally (Census 2011)
  • over the past 10 years the resident population in South Lakeland has remained fairly steady. However, by 2041 it is projected to reduce by 2,900 to 101,600


  • 85% of the working age population in South Lakeland are economically active. 1 in 4 of those in employment are self-employed (Nomis 2018/19)
  • the average weekly pay by residence (those living in South Lakeland) is £570.80 (2018). This is similar to the national average of £571.10, and higher than the North West average (£529.60). (Nomis)
  • the average weekly pay by workforce (those working in South Lakeland) is £501.20 (2018). This is significantly lower than both the North West and National average of £529.60 and £570.90 respectively. (Nomis)
  • in 2018/19 just 1.8% of the working age residents in South Lakeland were unemployed. When compared to the North West (3.9%) and UK (4.1%) averages, this rate is significantly lower. (Nomis)


Employment by Industry (ONS 2012)   (%)
Energy and Water  1
Manufacturing  10
Construction  5
Services (all)  84
Service:  Wholesale and Retail  18
Service:  Transport  3
Service:   Accommodation and Food Services  18
Service:   Information and Communication  2
Service:   Finance and Business Services  13
Service:   Public Administration, Education and Health  23
Service:  Other (including Art, Entertainment and Recreation)  7

There are 6,410 business enterprises in South Lakeland (2018). Since 2013 there has been a 9% increase in the number of businesses in the district. (Nomis)


  • there are 53,330 residential properties in the district (2018). In 2017-18 there was a net additional increase of 354 dwellings
  • the average property price in South Lakeland is £225,000 (Sept 2018). This is compared to the national average of £239,000. Since 2013 the average house price in the district has increased by 18% (ONS)
  • the average house price varies significantly within the district, from around £390,000 in the Windermere/ Ambleside area to around £150,000 in Ulverston
  • one in ten households in the district are considered to be fuel poor. This occurs when a household has required fuel costs that are above the average level, and were these are to be paid, they would be left with a residual income below the official poverty line. This is in line with the national average, but does go above this in certain areas of the district

About our Council

We were formed in 1974 and are one of six district authorities in Cumbria, the others are:

Your councillors and the political make-up of your council.

How we operate

In 2002, following the Local Government Act 2000, the council adopted a Leader and Cabinet style decision making structure. The rules governing the way the council operates are set down in the our constitution.

All councillors meet together at full council meetings. Here, councillors decide the overall policies, set the budget each year and hold the cabinet and all committees to account.

Cabinet is made up of seven Liberal Democrat councillors who are responsible for implementing policies and decisions. The portfolios of the cabinet members are:


The council runs a 'commissioning model' of overview and scrutiny, with one main Overview and Scrutiny Committee made up of twelve councillors. You can view more details on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

A number of other committees deal with specific areas of council business. These include: Planning, Licensing and Licensing Regulatory, Audit, Human Resources, Lake Admin and Standards. 


Political group leaders are:

  1. Liberal Democrat: Councillor Giles Archibald 
  2. Conservative: Councillor Tom Harvey
  3. Labour: Councillor Mark Wilson

Chief Executive: Lawrence Conway.

Our vision and priorities

The Council Plan for 2019 to 2024 sets out our vision of "working together to make South Lakeland the best place to live, work and explore."

The plan also details our three key priorities which are; housing and communities, economy and culture, and health and environment.

Our values are:

  • empowering people
  • excellence
  • open and transparent

Electoral wards

There are 18 electoral wards in our district.

Map of South Lakeland District Council electoral wards

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