Join the conversation and help shape our future

Every person living and working in Westmorland and Furness is invited to join the conversation into how we can together make the area better now and in the future.

Westmorland and Furness Council is preparing its first Local Plan – which looks ahead 20 years from now and considers how many new homes and workplaces that our area needs to continue to thrive, while also protecting our local and historic character and special landscapes, green spaces and environment.

The council is kickstarting the process with a conversation about the places residents live, work and visit across the Local Plan area – the parts of Westmorland and Furness outside the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national park areas.

A digital survey has gone live today and we are urging as many people as possible to let us know their views.

Conversations will also be happening at drop-in sessions all around Westmorland and Furness, starting in Kirkby Stephen on Wednesday, when people can talk to council officers to find out more about the process and contribute.

Click here to join the conversation or find out details about the drop-in sessions.

We will also be asking people to give us their views on the design of new development by helping to shape a Design Code for our area.

Councillor Virginia Taylor, Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Communities and Localities, said: “Making a local plan could be the most important thing the Council does. A local plan sets out the future we want for ourselves and for future generations. It’s a chance for everyone – residents, businesses, utilities, highways, education, health, town and parish councils, environment and nature agencies –  for everyone to contribute to a plan for the best future for the whole of Westmorland and Furness. A new plan is a chance for us to solve problems of housing, jobs, transport and infrastructure. The consultation is a chance to input local knowledge, hear expert testimony, and assemble a wide range of data so the plan is made up of good decisions, soundly based.

“This is the very first stage in preparing our Local Plan and there will be future consultations as the plan develops and the draft plan emerges. We promise to listen to all comments, views and suggestions and keep the people who matter at the heart of the process.”

The Local Plan will allocate sites for housing and other developments, such as new employment sites and minerals and waste sites (e.g. quarries and recycling centres). We are asking people to put forward sites to be included within the new Local Plan.

It contains the policies that we use to guide and decide whether to grant planning permissions for new development.

And the plan seeks to make our area better by, for example, reducing the environmental impact of new development, building affordable housing, helping our wildlife and reducing flood risk, helping improve our infrastructure (including roads and cycleways, schools, drainage systems, facilities for recycling/waste management and community facilities) and identifying the infrastructure needed to support development and shows how it will be accommodated and provided for.

The plan takes into account changes in our economy, population, society, towns, countryside and nature, movement around places, climate, and frequency of extreme weather event, heritage and communities.

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