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Documents reveal South Lakes council attempted to build hotel on Bowness public park

Windermere campaigner Jane Hoyle

Attempts by South Lakeland District Council to secure permission for a hotel and leisure complex to be built on a recreational park in Bowness have been revealed under the Freedom of Information Act.

In response a campaign has been launched to secure better protections for the green space to prevent development in the future.

The documents show how in June this year, the council asked National Park planners to consider granting permission for The Glebe to be used for the construction of a hotel and leisure complex. The council-owned recreational space on the shores of Lake Windermere is home to a mini-golf course, tennis courts and rolling parkland.

In its response to the council’s hotel and leisure complex plans, the Lake District National Park rejected the proposals in its new development blueprint, but local campaigners now want the site to be formally designated as ‘Green Space Amenity and Recreation Land’ to prevent further attempts by the South Lakes local authority to cash-in on the site in the future.

Councillor James Airey, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale. said: “The Glebe is a valuable green space in the heart of Bowness which is used by thousands of people each year. The council failed to consult residents before putting the site forward and we only know about its proposal to build a hotel and leisure complex on The Glebe because of the National Park Authority.”

Local Windermere campaigner Jane Hoyle said: “It is encouraging that National Park planners rejected the council’s attempt this time to cash-in on The Glebe.  To prevent a fresh attempt in the future, however, we need to secure proper protected status for the park and I would encourage as many people as possible to sign the petition.”

A spokesperson for South Lakeland District Council said the council fully supports the LDNPA’s proposal to retain the Glebe as open space.

The background is that the Lake District National Park put out a call to owners of sites in the national park to identify any that could have potential for development over the next 15 years of the LDNPA’s Local Plan period. South Lakeland District Council officers put forward for discussion a number of sites the council owns within the national park. This did not reflect intent.

The land owned by the council at the Glebe includes an operational car park and discussions examined whether this area of council land ownership had any scope for alternative use.

A plan of the council’s entire ownership in this general area was submitted clearly explaining its current use and the suggestion that there could feasibly be alternative uses.

Following those discussions, tourism use at any part of the Glebe site has not been included in the LDNPA’s local plan proposals nor has there been any further work undertaken regarding the idea of, for example, a hotel in this area.

Despite claims that suggest otherwise the green space at the Glebe was never put forward as a potential site as a covenant covering the area means any development would never be able to happen.

The spokesperson said: “It would be incorrect to say that SLDC asked National Park planners for permission for a leisure and hotel complex at the Open space at The Glebe.

“In the council’s final response to the LDNPA Local Plan consultation approved in July this year it clearly states that the council supports the LDNPA’s proposal to retain the Glebe as open space and that this is ‘aligned with SLDC’s aspirations for the area’.”

People can sign The Glebe petition at: https://www.westmorlandconservatives.org.uk/form/don-t-let-the-council-build-on-t

The Lake District National Park Authority’s decision to exclude The Glebe from its new Local Plan is available HERE (page 23).

South Lakeland District Council’s submission of The Glebe for a hotel and leisure development (page 2)

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