K Village Kendal

Kendal shopping centre set for £11m hotel conversion

Proposals to convert the K Village shopping centre into a hotel and apartments will go before South Lakeland’s planning committee on Thursday with a recommendation to approve.

The K Village, currently a struggling shopping centre, sits on the edge of Kendal alongside the river Kent and is largely vacant aside from a Clarks Outlet store, a gym, and Terrazzo.  It was opened in 2010 on the site of the former K Shoes factory.

Overall there are 29 retail units comprising 43,000 sq ft but the majority are empty. There are also 94 apartments on the first, second, and third floors.

Proposals were brought forward in the summer to convert the building into a 69-bed hotel, along with 88 apartments, offices, and retail; this has been brought forward by the building’s owner Lou Kendal, which bought the site in 2015.

The hotel will be focussed on the existing retail space and many of the vacant units will be converted into 69 bedrooms, with the hotel accessed via Lound Road. Travelodge is understood to be lined up as operator.

On the first floor, vacant commercial space will be subdivided into 30 apartments, while retail storage on the second floor will be converted into 38 apartments. On the third floor, an extension will feature 20 flats.

None of these apartments have been earmarked as affordable homes; a viability assessment, supported by an independent review, submitted with the project suggests including affordable housing would “render the scheme so unviable as to threaten its implementation”.

Construction costs are estimated to be around £6.8m for the residential, and £4.7m for the hotel.

Recommending the proposals for approval at planning committee, officers said: “Overall, the proposals have been well-received, being seen as an important opportunity to resuscitate the fortunes of K Village and bring extensive areas of vacant or under-performing floorspace back into active use.

“The apartments represent a valuable windfall, boosting the district’s housing supply and providing accommodation in a highly accessible location.

“The lack of genuinely affordable housing is regrettable, but the nature of the units being provided will still deliver low cost market housing which is also a core strategy objective. The hotel demonstrates continuing confidence in Kendal’s economy and will contribute to an appreciable uplift in spending in the town.”

The professional team on the project includes Craig Foster Architects, and WYG as planner, transport consultant and flood risk advisor. South Lakeland’s planning committee meets on 29 November.

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