POLICE have reduced thefts from cars in rural car parks to a single incident in the last month, compared with dozens in previous years, Lakes Parish Council heard. The introduction of auto-matic number plate readers in car parks such as White Moss had also deterred thieves but there were 124 calls for service in the past month, mostly related to roads and traffic, plus seven thefts including one of a boat.

Council members strongly recommended refusal of an application for a new house and two new flats for local people on land by 1 High Gale on the grounds of over-development of an important green field site.

Coun Paul Truelove, who objects with others to a shared cycleway/footpath between Pelter Bridge and Red Bank, went to a site meeting and told council that engineering work to improve access along the path would create a cycle route.

Members have been shown details of South Lakeland District Council’s £200,000 scheme for Waterhead, and parish clerk Michael John-son also reported on meeting a sculptor who is seeking a commission for work in the public realm. He suggested that a relevant work, maybe of a Roman centurion sited near Waterhead’s Roman fort, could prove a popular attraction.

Coun Ella Footit said she was disgusted that council, in her absence, had turned down the idea of helping to pay towards taxi transport for elderly people from Lakes parish to attend a day centre in Windermere, yet had agreed to spend £4,000 on a new peer-to-peer monthly support group for those with dementia and their carers.

The new group at the Kelsick Centre, funded by profits from White Platts recreation ground, starts from July 29. Members defended the deci-sion, saying public money had to be spent equitably to help all health service users.

Reports from Grasmere updated members on the installation of BT broadband cabinets, and Coun Vivienne Rees said an anti-litter campaign was needed in the village. She also said that Grasmere’s sewage system was now recognised by United Utilities as one of the worst in the county.

Funds from Coun Heidi Halliday’s local budget were paying for traffic calming measures in Rydal, including road alterations, new signage and the creation of a village gateway, launched last week.

The finance and outside projects sub-committee was looking into a proposal from a local firm wanting to advertise on public toilet doors at Low Fold, Rydal Road and the Mechanics Institute. Members said adverts should be tamper-proof and tidy, and if council gave consent, it would be for one year initially.

Members agreed to support Ambleside Parish Centre’s bid for a stage two £10,000 grant application for an Our Place programme designed to co-ordinate local services. Work was already under way to help itinerant rough sleepers and newly homeless people to access services in Kendal, and volunteers were starting home-visiting and befriending of vulnerable older people, identifying single elderly men as needing friendly support.

The scheme also wanted to link with CAB and multi-cultural services to expand the parish centre’s support for migrant workers. The grant would also fund expert workers to assist volunteers. The parish centre has already been awarded £3,000 for stage one of the grant.