PLANS to expand a business park on an industrial estate in Kirkby Lonsdale have been given the green light after councillors went against officers’ recommendations.

Members of South Lakeland local area for Westmorland and Furness Council went against a recommendation to refuse and approved a planning application for the construction of five mixed-use workspace units in Lane House Business Park.

This comes after the decision was previously deferred in September after councillors were minded to approve the plans against planning officers’ recommendations.

Proposals include the extension of the existing site to build three additional buildings to form five mixed use units and to create 30 car parking spaces.

Planning officers recommended refusal and stated: “The application site is located within open countryside, as such, the proposal would not contribute to reducing the need to travel. Moreover, the site has poor accessibility by sustainable transport modes, which would make it highly likely that future users would rely on the private motor vehicle to access the proposal.”

They added the proposed development does not meet any of the ‘exceptional circumstances’ where the council will approve new development in open countryside.

However, members of the planning committee said the plans would support the local economy.

Councillor Helen Chaffey (Kent Estuary, Lib Dems) said: “I’ve given this a lot of thought, I’ve been on a site visit, read a lot of material and I would like to propose that we approve this application.

“My reason for proposing that we do approve this application is to do with supporting the local economy. I do think the people on the ground know their area best and there seems to be a lot of reasons why this new proposed development would be successful.”

Councillor Rupert Audland (Kent Estuary, Lib Dems)  told the committee that promoting local businesses in areas like Kirkby Lonsdale is ‘paramount’ and added: “We need to strengthen our individual areas.”

Kirkby Lonsdale Town Council supported the proposals due to there being ‘no opportunity’ for a new business park in the town.

The town council said: “There is now no additional space for new business development in or near to Kirkby Lonsdale and providing such space in Kendal or Carnforth would not meet local need, which South Lakeland District Council has previously said should be in or close to Kirkby Lonsdale.

“The development boundary of Kirkby Lonsdale is drawn very tightly and there is no opportunity for new business park development in the town itself.

“One of the aims of Westmorland and Furness Council and the town council is to provide local employment opportunities and this is particularly the case where in Kirkby Lonsdale there is the QES Academy providing a large supply of well-trained students looking for employment locally.”

According to a design and access statement submitted with the application demand for the units is ‘exceptionally high’.

The statement concludes: “The proposed expansion of the Lane House Business Park is small scale and will provide much needed workspace for local businesses. The existing units are in high demand and will bring jobs to the area.

“The site location allows convenient access for all and has excellent links to the wider motorway and principle road network.”

Members of South Lakeland local area planning committee approved the proposals on February 15 at Kendal Town Hall.