South Windermere Sailing Club (SWSC) has said it was disappointed to learn YMCA Fylde Coast's North Camp has not been recognized as an Asset of Community Value (ACV).

Last month, YMCA Fylde Coast successfully appealed the designation, with the area being deemed as an "unsuccessful nomination" of an ACV by Westmorland and Furness Council.

SWSC says the ACV designation would have helped in working with a prospective purchaser and the YMCA to include the sailing club at North Camp.

READ MORE: YMCA site to be sold for development at 'prime' lakeside spot

Last year, a 1,500-signature strong petition was created, and backed by MP Tim Farron, amid concerns that the site would be sold off to private developers.

The Westmorland Gazette: Locals were worried that 'one of the last remaining areas of lake frontage' would be prioritised for tourist activity instead of ensuring community access for existing sports and local community businesses.

SWSC says its vision included opportunities for North Camp tenants such as the Freshwater Biological Association, a café that prepares local school meals and a watersports rental facility, to continue operations.

Sara Speicher, SWSC Commodore said: "Yes, this is a legal setback, but there is hope that through open dialogue and collaborative efforts a solution, which may mean a new location by the conclusion of our lease in December 2026, can be identified that not only supports the club's inclusive mission but is also an opportunity to link with a wider community.

"SWSC remains committed to finding common ground and working towards a future that preserves family-friendly sailing in the area. We hope the YMCA, LLA and Westmorland & Furness Council will assist us in our efforts."

The site has been owned by YMCA for 70 years with the North Camp lying on the southwest bank of Windermere, three miles north of Newby Bridge. 

It includes a range of buildings, including a boat house and landing stages, and a jetty with 300 metres of lake frontage.  

It was put up for sale through national agents Sanderson Weatherall. 

The Westmorland Gazette: A spokesperson for YMCA Fylde: "The ACV decision allows YMCA to progress with the sale of North Camp, a critical move that will allow continued investment at the south end of our Lakeside site which will result in improved affordable accommodation for staff as well as world-class outdoor education opportunities for the thousands of children that visit YMCA Lakeside each year.

"Given the incredible location of YMCA Lakeside, we are acutely aware of our responsibility as custodians of the site. North Camp requires significant investment, far beyond the means of YMCA as a charity and our focus needs to be on ensuring Lakeside remains one of the premier outdoor education centres in Europe, giving young people the opportunity to experience the beauty of the Lake District whilst also supporting them to develop resilience, confidence and a connection to nature.

"We have had, and will continue to have, dialogue with South Windermere Sailing Club to explore how the club can be supported."

A spokesperson for Westmorland and Furness Council said: "The Council is bound to apply and follow the requirements of the Localism Act 2011 when considering applications made by community groups to list assets as being 'assets of community value' (ACV).

"Listing as an ACV can be done if the Council is satisfied that the statutory criteria are met by the application. Essentially, the test is whether the main use of the asset furthers a community’s social well-being or social interests - which can include cultural, sporting or recreational interests - and whether this is likely to continue in the future.

"The aim is to create more opportunities for local groups to bid for buildings and land defined as community assets if/when the owner wishes to sell them.

"This gives local community groups an opportunity to raise finance, develop a business plan, and bid to buy the asset to preserve facilities that are important to them.

"Land owners who do not wish the property to be designated as an ACV then have the option to apply for a review of the listing decision, and ultimately to appeal it in the Lands Tribunal.

"In this case, Windermere Sailing Club applied to have the area known as YMCA North Camp listed as an ACV. This is a site upon the shore of Lake Windermere that has been in the ownership of the YMCA for many years. The sailing club currently has a lease from the YMCA to use part of the North Camp, namely the Director’s House and adjacent land, for its activities.

"Following a review of the club’s application, the Council initially listed the part of the site that is occupied by the club as an ACV, but did not agree that the remainder of the site should be listed. The YMCA did not accept this decision and requested a review, to be held at an oral hearing at the Council’s offices on 6 February 2024. At this hearing, the YMCA’s legal team and the Council officer who had made the initial decision both set out the reasons for their position, which were then reviewed by the Council in accordance with the statutory requirements.

"Under the terms of the Act, the Council has to be satisfied that it is realistic to think that there can continue to be ‘non-ancillary’ use of the land and building in the future that would ‘further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community’.

"Taking into account the facts of the matter, the Council recognised that the sailing club provides excellent community activities that do further the social wellbeing of the local community. However, the club has only a short-term lease to use the site, which is due to expire in a few years’ time.

"It has no right or option to renew the lease, and the YMCA had confirmed that it would not be prepared to grant a new lease. Consequently, the Council could not be satisfied that the club would be able to continue its activities on the site in the future.

"In addition to this, the YMCA also has planning permission for the redevelopment or refurbishment of the site, including the Director’s House, for use as a residence. Under the ACV regulations, residences together with connected land may not be listed as ACVs. Again, the Council could therefore not be satisfied that the requirements of the Act for an ACV listing had been met.

"Having thus followed the legal process to apply the statutory criteria, for the reasons outlined above, the Council concluded that the original designation did not in fact meet the requirements of the Act.

"As such, the decision was made to reverse the original ACV designation, with the whole North Camp site to be entered onto the list of unsuccessful applications."