Urban Splash signals Lake District move with Windermere deal

In its first foray into the Lake District, Urban Splash has been named development partner to bring forward a mixed-use scheme around Windermere railway station.

Urban Splash has been chosen to draw up plans for the Windermere Gateway Project, which includes land around the railway station and its car parks, the existing Booths and Lakeland stores, and 22 hectares of investment land owned by the National Trust.

The latter plot is next to Thwaites Lane and the A591, and is identified as a mixed-use development opportunity under the Lake District National Park Authority’s draft Local Plan.

The land was gifted to the National Trust in 1987 as investment land; once more formal plans for the site are drawn up, and related costs are known, the National Trust will then assets its options for selling, keeping or leasing the land.

Any proposals for the land will be subject to planning permission and would need to meet a series of policies on affordable homes, infrastructure provision, and design quality, being within a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Windermere Gateway Project is made up of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership; South Lakeland District Council; the National Trust; and the Lake District National Park Authority, along with retailers Booths and Lakeland. JLL advised the partners on the appointment process, which attracted in excess of 30 bids.

Mike Innerdale, the National Trust’s regional director for the north of England, said: “There is a unique opportunity for us to make a difference in Windermere through a gift that supports our conservation work. It means developing land next to the station in a sensitive way to provide housing for locals, meet employment needs and provide a world-class entry point and transport hub to the Lakes. It involves other landowners and stakeholders. It is very much a shared ambition and a partnership project supported by many.

“We are at a very early stage of establishing what sort of development is viable on this challenging site. It will be informed by discussions with the local community and key stakeholders. It is also dependent on the proposed allocation for our land being part of the Local Plan for the Lake District, the subject of recent consultations and up for public examination later this year,”

Jim Jackson, deputy chair of Cumbria LEP and chair of the Windermere Gateway Project Steering Group added: “The potential developments around Windermere station are very welcome enabling improvements to the transport infrastructure, local economy and additional local housing. It is great to see partnerships come together to provide improvements in Cumbria.”

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