BUILDING work on a controversial 29-home development near Kendal is to begin imminently.

The site at Natland was subject to representations from furious residents when it was brought before the district council's planning committee last year.

Detractors expressed concerns over traffic and felt the village lacked the necessary amenities to support the new properties.

However, Carol Barlow, a sales director at Jones Homes, said the company's Helmdale development would form a 'logical extension' to Natland.

"[It] will provide high-quality homes of varying sizes to the village to help meet demand, including a mix of detached, semi-detached and mews-style properties," she said.

"The new development is just under three miles from Kendal town centre, which provides other facilities such as supermarkets, independent retailers, pubs and restaurants.

“With construction work now set to begin at Helmdale, we are looking forward to releasing the first homes for sale in the coming months and creating a new community within the village.”

Helmdale is to sit on land adjacent to Sedgwick Road. It will feature 19 three-, four- and five-bedroom houses for private sale and 10 affordable properties available through rent or shared ownership. It is expected homes will first be available for purchase this summer.

Among the members of the public to voice their opposition to the development at the South Lakeland District Council planning committee meeting in December was Paul Want.

"Why do the [planning] reports not mention accessing Westmorland General Hospital, the nearest supermarket, doctor's surgery, post office or the leisure centre?" he told councillors.

"Why do they not mention traffic chaos at St Mark's School at drop-off and pick-up times?"

Another resident, Ian Brodie, said the greenfield plot on which the homes were to be built was a 'prime nesting site' for birds and was used for hunting by bats. He expressed concern about the impact construction would have on the animals.

Mr Brodie said approval of the scheme 'would set a very poor standard for future development proposals'.

Jones Homes has said it will incorporate 'numerous measures to enhance biodiversity' at Helmdale, such as bat boxes, bird boxes and areas of wildflower turf.