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Drawing a Line in the Sand

Grange from Silverdale

Hundreds of residents attended ‘Community Conversation’ events held at Thwaites, Grange over Sands, Lowick, Broughton and Ulverston this summer discuss a proposal to extend the southern boundary of the Lake District.

Submitted to Natural England by Friends of the Lake District, the proposal is seeking to incorporate an area of outstanding landscape in the south of Cumbria, its land and its estuaries, increasing the size of the Lake District National Park by approximately 6%.

Organised by the Southern Boundary Partnership (SBP) – a community led group of Parish Councillors, and attended by representatives from Friends of the Lake District and the Lake District National Park Authority, the ‘Community Conversations’ provided an opportunity for residents to have their questions answered.

Mapping of the proposed extension area proved to be the focus of attention for many. The route of the boundary line and the rationale for its selection prompted many residents to ask ‘Why them and not us?’

Duddon Extension updated June 2019 locator map

Grange is included within the new boundary but Ulverston is not. Flookburgh and areas to the south are excluded altogether along with Walney Island. Haverigg and some of the surrounding areas of Kirksanton and Millom and Hodbarrow are also omitted.

The extent and route of the proposed new boundary was generated by independent research undertaken by Friends of the Lake District to assess ‘landscape quality’ in response to a request from a group of parish councils. To be designated as a National Park an area of land has to meet certain statutory tests relating to the quality of its landscape, cultural heritage and wildlife; and the opportunities it has for recreation. For a proposal to extend a National Park to be successful, the area specified must meet these tests and align with the criteria used by Natural England to inform its ultimate decision on whether a landscape is of the quality and character to afford National Park status.

Douglas Chalmers, Friends of the Lake District said: “The proposed extension area shares much of the geology, geomorphology, cultural history and wildlife of the adjacent Lake District; many of the facets that will go into determining ‘landscape quality’ and Natural England’s ultimate decision.

“We commissioned leading landscape adviser Alison Farmer to conduct an independent assessment of the area and make recommendations as to where she felt potential boundary lines should be.”

David Savage, Southern Boundary Partnership said: “Our ‘Community Conversations’ started the conversation with our residents. If this proposal is assessed by Natural England then everybody will be given the opportunity to comment and to get involved in helping to shape a new southern boundary.

“We believe it has the potential to bring great personal and economic benefit to the area and we’re here to ensure that our residents and businesses are heard.”

Any proposal to extend a National Park requires Natural England to undertake a major program of work prior to any decision being made. This includes a public consultation on any proposed boundary line, and potentially a public inquiry, before making recommendations to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Details and mapping of the proposed extension area and a new Q and A section answering common questions about the extension are now available on Friends of the Lake District’s website: www.friendsofthelakedistrict.org.uk/southern-boundary-extension

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