Councillors have approved plans to close an area of common land in Kendal to vehicles on safety grounds.

Members of South Lakeland District Council’s (SLDC’s) Cabinet took the decision after considering an officer’s report that identified safety at New Road as a serious issue.

The advice in the report said the layout of the site and its relationship to the adjacent road has the potential to lead to accidents and personal injury for members of the public, both within the area and on the road, with particular concerns raised about the access to and from the site from the road.

Leader of SLDC Councillor Giles Archibald said that faced with such clear safety advice the council had no option other than to close the land to vehicles to prevent the risk of accidents or injury.

He told the meeting: “This area is unsafe. The safety advice is not a smokescreen. I could not live with myself if someone was hurt, maimed or even killed on that land if it was left as it is and I knew about the risks.’’

The Cabinet meeting today (Wednesday, August 30) heard from several members of the public and representatives from organisations including the Church of Holy Trinity and St George on New Road, the Open Spaces Society and South Lakes Action on Climate Change.

Members of the Shadow Cabinet raised several questions on the safety report, the legal status of the common and the requirement to take action immediately, during a lengthy debate at Kendal Town Hall.

Councillor Archibald also informed the Cabinet meeting that a number of further meetings have been arranged next week to allow all councillors, partner organisations and members of the public to learn more about the decision and to comment on matters including parking provision in the town.


The meetings will be held at Kendal Town Hall during the afternoon and evening of Wednesday, September 6, from 2pm to 9pm.

SLDC Deputy Council Leader Councillor Jonathan Brook added: “We realise that this will have some negative consequences and we are working hard to address issues around parking and have been listening to people’s views.

“That is why we are asking officers to look at additional parking provision arrangements on top of the £1 a day offer at Westmorland Shopping Centre to bring forward more parking options and more flexibility.’’