CONSERVATION groups have spoken out against a controversial plan to create a formal driving range for golfers on a public village green with panoramic views.

Proposals by Kendal Golf Club include a 200-yard driving range, a two-storey range building and four-metre high metal and mesh fence.

Tomorrow (Thursday), South Lakeland District Council will vote on proposals which have been revised after initial plans were thrown out last year.

An SLDC environmental protection officer has recommended the application be rejected. The officer claims the range building would be ‘over-prominent’, fencing would change the open nature of the area, which is a designated Country Wildlife Site, and the impacts to wildlife have not been fully studied.

A public footpath, which crosses the site, would also need to be diverted.

Planning documents also say the planned 200 square metre building would appear higher than any other nearby building and ‘would add to the sense of encroachment of the fell side’.

There have been nine letters of objection, including ones from the Friends of the Lake District, Open Spaces Society and Kendal Civic Society.

Richard Pearse, a planning officer for Friends of the Lake District, said: “The application proposes the construction of a large, utilitarian building in a sensitive open countryside location.

“The building does not reflect local vernacular, and would detract from the character of the landscape. The impact of the building would be exacerbated through the proposed installation of four metre high netting, and also through the intensification of use of this area.”

Kate Ashworth, of the Open Spaces Society, said changes proposed by the golf club would ‘create a blot on Kendal Fell’. The organisation has asked councillors to reject plans which they say will ‘suburbanise a rural area’.

She added: “It is a registered village green, so people have rights to recreation there. The development would interfere with that right.”

Kendal Civic Society treasurer Robin Yates said members were concerned about the scale of the development and the traffic it might bring.