THE first phase of the mutli-million pound Kendal flood defence plan has been give the go ahead.

The scheme was approved unanimously by South Lakeland District Council's planning committee today after a meeting at Kendal Town Hall.

The project, the first part of a three stage plan to help protect the town and neighbouring communities, was drawn up by the Environment Agency after it was agreed action was needed to address flood problems following the devastation of Storm Desmond in 2015.

Today's meeting opened with a presentation detailing the scheme by the SLDC planning department and then a total of 23 people, including several members of the public, addressed the meeting.


Some expressed their impassioned support for the plan, including MP Tim Farron, while  others, including representatives of locally based charity The Friends of the Lake District, were equally strident in their opposition to the proposals, which envisage around four miles of walls and embankments by the River Kent in the town and a pumping station at Stock Beck.

After a brief debate, councillors unanimously backed the plan, though it was passed subject to the result of a request from the six organisations who have formally written to the appropriate Government department requesting that the plan be 'called out' and reviewed by the Secretary of State.

“It is wonderful news that councillors on South Lakeland District Council planning committee have given their support to phase one of the Kendal flood risk management scheme, and we await the outcome of the Secretary of State’s decision," said Stewart Mounsey, Environment Agency Flood and Coastal Risk Manager for Cumbria.

However Kate Willshaw, a leading opponent of the plan who led the campaign to save the hundreds of trees threatened by the construction of the flood walls, said she was dismayed at the outcome.

"We are very disappointed though we feel we have done all we can," she said.