Andy Bounds from Financial Times chaired the panel debates

South Lakeland development opportunities showcased

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South Lakeland Invest LogoAround 200 business people from across the North West gathered at a special event to hear about new opportunities for investment and development in South Lakeland.

South Lakeland: Perfectly Placed was hosted by South Lakeland District Council in collaboration with Place North West.

The event attracted developers, investors and businesses active in construction, housing and commercial development.

Held at the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester, the event was moderated by Andy Bounds, enterprise editor and Northern correspondent of Financial Times.

Scroll down for gallery and videos from the day

The audience heard that land was available for 5,000 homes and a further 150 acres of land has been allocated for employment use.

The day generated much interesting discussion and demonstrated SLDC’s commitment to encouraging investment in South Lakeland. South Lakeland representatives were on hand to answer planning queries, and a number of successful local businesses were also present to talk about their experiences of doing business in the area.

Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats and MP for Westmorland & Lonsdale, welcomed attendees via video, and told the audience: “There will never be a better time to invest than now. There is huge potential to set up, grow and thrive. If you are expanding, relocating or investing, you should look no further than South Lakeland.”

Lawrence Conway, chief executive of SLDC, addressed the audience and said: “South Lakeland is a thriving area for business, with a highly skilled workforce, access to supply chain opportunities and excellent connectivity to the rest of the UK. It’s home to outstanding schools and colleges and offers a quality of life which is second to none.

“We now have a local plan agreed, we have sites allocated, and the council is prioritising job creation and the building of more homes, particularly affordable ones. We are striving to create the economic environment where everyone in the area can prosper.”

The conference also highlighted some of the multimillion pound developments already underway in Cumbria, including GlaxoSmithKline’s new biopharmaceutical factory in Ulverston and National Grid’s North West coast £4bn connections project.

Andrew Smith, land manager for McCarthy and Stone, attended the event because his firm is looking for more land to build homes in the Ulverston and Grange areas. Speaking after the event, he said: “It was extremely useful. It is refreshing to see the positive approach to property development by South Lakeland District Council.”

Andrew Dewhurst, director of Maple Grove Developments, part of the Eric Wright Group, was one of the speakers at the event. He said: “It is very competitive for local authorities trying to secure investment. Local authorities need to do something differently to distinguish their area and this event has helped highlight the strength of South Lakeland’s offer.

“SLDC has allocated land and realise they now have to concentrate on delivery, by meeting developers and telling them about the good things South Lakeland has and how vibrant it is.”

Alan Simpson, studio principal of IBI Group, also spoke at the event. IBI have worked on a number of projects in Kendal, including the award winning Kendal College building. Simpson said: “The scale of opportunity in South Lakeland is fantastic and events like this do a lot to communicate that.”

Sites allocated for employment in South Lakeland’s recently adopted Local Plan include:

  • Scroggs Wood, Kendal, 18 hectares
  • Mainline Business Park, Milnthorpe, 8 hectares
  • East of Burton Road A65, Kendal, 6.5 hectares
  • Shap Road, A6, Kendal, 5.5 acres
  • Canal Head, A590, Ulverston, 6.5 hectares (1.66 now developed)

Sites allocated for housing development include:

  • 1,600 in Kendal
  • 1,100 in Ulverston
  • 500 in Grange-over-Sands
  • and more than 1,000 more dwellings in other towns and villages around the district

Among the speakers were:

  • Richard Leafe, chief executive, Lake District National Park Authority
  • James Peacock, director, Mardix, large industrial manufacturer
  • Spencer Hannah, co-founder, Herdy
  • Andrew Dewhurst, director, Maple Grove Developers, part of Eric Wright Group
  • Martyn Nicholson, managing director, Russell Armer Homes
  • Graham Wilkinson, principal, Kendal College
  • Pete Cornwall, business liaison officer, Lancaster University Management School
  • Dan Hudson, development strategy and housing manager, South Lakeland District Council
  • Anna Doran, Anglo Scottish Route general manager, Virgin Trains

Invest in South Lakeland strives to drive inward investment to the area, supporting existing businesses, encouraging growth and inspiring new businesses to start up and relocate to South Lakeland.

Other advantages of investing in South Lakeland include:

  • the rapid roll-out of both fixed and wireless high speed broadband across the region
  • the increasing proliferation of 3G and 4G connectivity in areas which were once mobile black spots
  • the excellent rail and road transport links and the proximity to the North’s major urban hubs
  • South Lakeland’s wealth of highly skilled, well-educated and entrepreneurial workers seeking local opportunities

Contact the Invest in South Lakeland team on 01539 793280 or email or visit

The films above were made by Manchester video production company Paper Films.

Click image to launch gallery


South Lakeland District Council Logo SLDC

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