A BOARDING school has been given a provisional green light to develop school land for housing, in order to secure its future financially.

Windermere School applied for permission to the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) in August 2021 to build seven houses on land within the school boundaries on land that their Planning Statement says is "surplus to the Trust's educational requirements".

The application allows for four detached houses, and three terraced houses, two of which would be designated affordable homes, and five being restricted to local occupancy.

The statement explains the school's reasons for the proposal:

"Like many local businesses, the Covid 19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns have seriously affected the School’s income potential, detrimentally impacting the available boarding income, and our Summer School in 2020. 

"These losses total well in excess of £1 million, with further losses still being accrued. 

"The school has successfully altered our business model and is accommodating public parking and looking at other sources of income alongside securing financial backing to help them on the road to recovery.

"The School does still, however, have some lost ground to make up, and are therefore putting forward the proposal for a housing development that will enable the Trust to further invest in the quality of the education they offer and secure the business beyond the medium term. 

"All funds generated from the proposed application will be reinvested within the school to ensure continuity of their high standards of education and continuity of employment to their staff."

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Summing up the school's ongoing financial commitments, the statement says:

"In a normal year, the business generates approximately £6 million, the majority of which is then spent in the local economy. 

"Almost £4 million is paid each year in staff salaries, and a further £700,000 is spent in contracts with local suppliers, including Mountain Goat, Traveller's Choice, McClure's, taxi companies, and local trades."

Outline planning permission was granted by LDNPA on the condition that details of the appearance, landscaping, layout, and scale of development are submitted and approved.

The development will also require written approval of new footpath links, full details of protection of trees in the area, the carriageway, cycleways, parking bays, and turning provision.

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