South Lakeland Housing and Employment Land Search Study

Cumbria, UK

Gillespies undertook this important strategic study aimed at understanding the potential to create housing and employment urban extension areas around a number of settlements within a study area extending from the Lake District to the Yorkshire Dales National Park. This is an area which is typically scenic and very rural.

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Gillespies was appointed by South Lakeland District Council to carry out a series of audits of the South Lakeland area to identify the main drivers and constraints for the location of new housing development. Essentially this was a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis to identify broad locations for potential development. There was no attempt to rank settlements or locations at this stage, rather the aim was to identify the ‘possible’.

At the same time as identifying the potential constraints and opportunities for development, the Gillespies’ team carried out a process of site identification. This was based on a localised assessment of each settlement and the surrounding landscape context. Importantly, these two processes were carried out in parallel. The identified sites were then subjected to systematic appraisal in terms of their sustainability (environmental and landscape context, accessibility, facilities) and deliverability (services, location, feasibility and viability), using a bespoke set of criteria.

In addition to the above appraisal, a number of specific comments were made based on the strategic analysis, consultations and discussions with stakeholders as to a site’s suitability. This included issues such as any specific relevant designations, planning history and local community views.