South Lakeland District Council

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Council clamp-down rounds up dumped vans and cars

Police, council and licensing officials clamped 25 abandoned cars and vans across South Lakeland in two days, with many of them being crushed.

Clamped van

The operation, put together by South Lakeland council on the basis of public complaints, gave the owners of untaxed vehicles 24 hours to pay, or have the car or van impounded and possibly destroyed.

The authority gets about 300 complaints about abandoned vehicles each year, and officials say they are eyesores and can attract arsonists.

Homeless housing plan mooted for former Grange depot

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ellis Butcher

Short-term emergency accommodation for homeless people is to be created at Grange-over-Sands.

Offices at the Hampsfell Road depot, owned by South Lakeland District Council, are to be converted into two separate units on the ground and first floor.

Hampsfell Road depot

A meeting was told they would be used by people finding themselves without a home at short notice, and the accommodation will be managed by SLDC’s homeless team.

There will be a self-contained one-bedroom unit for one adult and a child and a two-bedroom unit for one adult and two children, with shared shower and kitchen facilities, and they will be used on a short-term basis, councillors were told.

Kendal Town Hall facelift gets planners' consent

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ellis Butcher

A £4.9m internal modernisation of Kendal Town Hall and the adjacent South Lakeland House has sailed past planners after councillors were reassured over fears that historically-important features might be lost.

Kendal Town Hall

The work had initially sparked concerns from Kendal Town Council and some councillors on South Lakeland District Council’s planning committee.

Planning officer Nick Howard told the committee the town council had been given a presentation about the plans and "now felt able to support" the proposals.

The only councillor not to support the scheme, Ulverston Conservative member Janette Jenkinson, said she now felt more comfortable with the proposals, but she abstained.

I still think it’s taking away something from the council by taking away these benches, but that’s just my view, and I am happy to accept that meetings now are held in a more open environment."

Councillor Janette Jenkinson

Reforming Cumbrian councils would be 'like herding cats'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

John Connell

Trying to get Cumbrian councils to agree on a devolution deal is “like herding cats”, the former leader of Allerdale council has warned his successor.

Alan Smith, the previous the chair of the district council, made the comments as the current leader, Marion Fitzgerald, discussed an October telephone conference with Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry and all the district councils, apart from Barrow.

Devolution would give politicians in Cumbria greater powers, but would probably also mean agreeing on one, two or three so-called "unitary" authorities instead of the current districts and county councils, and possibly a Mayor of Cumbria.

Mr Smith, who took part in talks which collapsed in 2016, said: "Don’t get hung up on governance and unitary authorities or combined authorities, but you have got a rough job ahead."

It’s like herding cats. You get five on board and one comes out and it all breaks down.”

Alan Smith

'Significant increase' in rough sleeping in South Lakeland

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A 'significant increase' in the number of people sleeping rough in South Lakeland will be investigated by the local council, with a report expected in the new year.

A full meeting of South Lakeland District Council was told that in contrast to increasing homelessness, the number of people owning second homes in the area is approaching four thousand.

The porfolio holder for health, wellbeing and financial resilience, Councillor Suzie Pye, a Liberal Democrat, also claimed figures from End Child Poverty show 23% of people in the area are living in poverty and referrals to the Kendal food bank have gone up 18% year on year.

She told councillors that tackling social inequality is "certainly a challenge".

Homeless person with dog
Getty Images

Town hall facelift scheme 'may go too far'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Ellis Butcher

Modernisation plans for Kendal Town Hall have started a debate between South Lakeland council and Kendal Town Council, both of which have offices there.

South Lakeland, which owns the Grade II listed building on Highgate, has tabled plans to bring the buildings up to modern accessibility standards, make better use of empty space and hire out sections to companies to generate income.

But Kendal Town Council, which also meets in the town hall, believes the changes go too far, threatening a "loss of historic and heritage value for little gain".

The historic council chamber (pictured), the Bindloss Room, the Highgate room, the committee room and assembly room will be upgraded with wifi installed and new audio-visual equipment, new lighting, power, heating and cooling, and a fire detection system, alongside works to plaster and redecorations.

There are also plans to change the entrance lobby.

Kendal Town Hall council chamber

The needs of updating Kendal Town Hall building whilst retaining its historic heritage and bringing its usage up to date, do not require all the changes planned.”

Kendal Town Council

The conservation officer reported that the public benefits, specifically improved access, health and well being of end users and improved opportunities for the use of the building, are considered acceptable to offset any harm caused.”

South Lakeland council report

Hundreds of syringes found in dumped medical waste

Six black binliners full of clinical waste including hundreds of syringes have been found in a lay-by near Kendal.

Council official John Barwise with bucket of sharps

John Barwise from South Lakeland council said the bags were reported by a member of the public and found to contain eight of the tubs used in clinics and hospitals to collect hazardous waste.

He said the labels appeared to have been been scratched off so the source could not be identified.

The bags are thought to have been fly-tipped over the weekend in the lay-by on the A6 between Kendal and Selside.

To dump this sort of waste in a public place is highly irresponsible, illegal and potentially dangerous."

John Barwise

Council to offer free parking in south Cumbria

Free parking is being offered in South Lakeland on Sundays in the lead up to Christmas.

The offer will apply to pay and display car parks run by South Lakeland District Council throughout December.

It also covers the car park at Westmorland Shopping Centre.

Electric car 'power points' project goes a step forward

Seven charging points for electric vehciles could be set up in South Lakeland in residential roads where off-street plug-in supplies would not be possible.

Electrict car plug
Getty Images

The council has been given a £187,000 grant under a national scheme to identify charging points.

Barrow hopes for more money to build economy

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Barrow council officials are planning talks with government ministers over getting more money for economic development in the area.

It follows a collaboration between councils in Barrow, South Lakeland and Lancaster, which have united to get the Morecambe Bay area recognised as an economic region and submit a multimillion-pound bid for Growth Deal funding.

Barrow Borough Council leader Ann Thomson told a meeting of the full council: “We are now hoping to discuss our proposals with Government ministers to build a case for further investment in our region.”

She said the council was pressing forward with schemes such as the Marina Village and the £3.5m Harding Rise offices, next to the new Waterfront Business Park.