Local people are being invited to have their say on how land should be used in the county for years to come.
Cumbria and the Lake District Joint Structure Plan is out for consultation and is available on the Internet for the first time, making it more accessible to people than ever before. The consultation period finishes on July 12th
Cumbria's Joint Structure Plan, produced jointly by Cumbria County Council and the Lake District National Park Authority, guides changes in land use in the county, taking into account the economy, housing needs, transport and communications, and the environment, amongst other issues.
It contains a broad strategy, which focuses in on each individual area of the county and recognises that Cumbria is a diverse county with very distinct differences from north to south and east to west. The Structure Plan provides a framework for preparing more detailed Structure and Local Plans together help decide planning applications.
Councillor Kevan Wilkinson, County Council spokesman for economy and infrastructure, said:
"Cumbria's Joint Structure Plan is an influential document which has a fundamental affect on how land is used in the county. It is very important that all interested organisations and individuals who care about Cumbria let us know their views. Cumbria County Council and the Lake District National Park Authority are both going to great effort to ensure that the Plan is available to as many people as possible to ensure we get as many responses as possible.
As well as objections, it is important for us to receive comments which support the policies in the Plan. This Plan is the last one for Cumbria alone. In the future the county's development needs will be decided by the regional plan. It is vital that the Structure Plan expresses the needs of local people so it can be used to influence the regional plan and shape Cumbria's future in the North West."
Alan Fishwick, Chief Planning Officer (Temporary) for the Lake District National Park Authority, said:
"The Structure Plan underpins our land use policies, both to meet the social and economic needs of residents and to ensure the protection and enjoyment of the Lake District's special qualities. It gives vital guidance to developers as well as ourselves and it is important that it is kept up to date and deals with today's issues in full knowledge of people's aspirations and concerns."
Local people, groups and visitors to Cumbria have already had a chance to comment on what they thought were the main land use and development issues as a result of consultation from November 2001 to January 2002. This generated about 2000 comments on a wide range of subjects including windfarms, transport, housing, rural diversification, landscape and nature conservation and sustainable development. A substantial amount of the submissions, around 20%, were received electronically, highlighting the growing importance of technology in reaching people.
The Plan has been sent to all interested parties and is also available in libraries, on the web and by contacting Cumbria County Council on 01228 606758 and the Lake District National Park Authority on 01539792681. Any comments on the Plan can be sent to the above addresses or via the Internet on www.planningcumbria.org .