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Kendal Flood Scheme planning application approved

Floods in Kendal after Storm Desmond. Credit Hovershotz

A flood scheme planning application has been approved after being referred back to South Lakeland District Council’s (SLDC’s) planning committee to be checked against recently-adopted planning policies.

In March SLDC’s planning committee resolved to approve a planning application submitted by the Environment Agency (EA) for the first phase of its Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme.

The application related to works along the rivers Kent and Mint through Kendal including new and raised flood walls, new and raised flood embankments, ground raising, pumping station and associated changes to the public realm and landscaping.

The decision was subject to confirmation that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government did not wish to call-in the application for his own determination, which would have resulted in a public inquiry. Five requests were made that he should look at the case.

SLDC agreed not to issue the formal planning permission notice until the Secretary of State had fully considered the issues raised in the requests.

The Secretary of State confirmed on 7 May that he would not be calling-in the application.

However, between the date of the original committee resolution in March, and the receipt of the Secretary of State’s decision, the council formally adopted its Development Management Policies Development Plan Document (DPD) after it was approved by a government inspector. Although the relevant policies in the DPD were considered by the committee in March, the formal adoption means they now carry more weight.

The primary purpose of the DPD is to provide a set of development management policies for South Lakeland, which will be used to help assess whether or not a planning application should be granted planning permission.

This includes policies on flood risk management, key infrastructure, open spaces, trees and landscaping.

A planning inspector approved the DPD as an “appropriate basis for the planning of the district” and it was formally adopted by Full Council on 28 March.

To ensure that the planning committee members were content that this change to the status of the policies does not affect the original resolution, the application was referred back to the planning committee meeting yesterday so the decision could be checked against the newly-adopted policies. A motion to accept the recommendation to approve the application was passed unanimously.

The report also repeated the point that Phase 1 of the Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme is expected to deliver an appreciable net gain in biodiversity.

This is consistent with the commitment in the government’s recent Spring statement that it will use the forthcoming Environment Bill to mandate “biodiversity net gain” – meaning the delivery of much-needed infrastructure and housing is not at the expense of vital biodiversity.

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