A GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR has turned down an appeal to construct an office building near Kendal as the proposed development would be in an ‘unsuitable’ location.

The Planning Inspectorate has dismissed an appeal from AUK Properties Ltd to construct a two-storey office building and 29 car parking spaces at Prizet southbound services on the A591, a mile away from Kendal.

The proposed development which would provide 721 square metres of space was refused by the former South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) in March 2023 as the proposals did not meet any of the ‘exceptional circumstances’ where new development will be supported in open countryside.

According to a decision notice issued by SLDC in 2023, the application site is located in a ‘unsustainable location’ which would make the proposed development ‘inaccessible by sustainable transport modes for most users’.

But the applicant states in planning documents the site is served by sustainable transport options and points out it is on the X6 and 555 bus routes.

In a design and access statement, the applicant says the proposed site is served by a footpath which is often used as a safe cycle alternative to the bypass and leads from Kendal past Prizet Court and beyond to Sizergh and the roundabout at Sedgwick.

The applicant adds a contribution was made by the applicant to upgrade the bus stop following approval of the existing Prizet Offices and the applicant will likewise offer to contribute to upgrading the existing foot path should this new office scheme be approved.

In the inspector’s report, it acknowledges the bus stops provide services to Kendal, Lancaster and Ulverston but adds a round trip would require users of the proposed development to cross the dual carriageway, which does not have any crossing facility or lighting.

“Therefore, it is considered highly unlikely that public transport would be an attractive option for most users”, the report states.

According to planning documents, in 2018 business units at Prizet Court were completed and their ‘success’ has proved there is a ‘real demand’ for more office space.

The design and access statement says: “With the Covid 19 Pandemic from March 2020, the demand for business units nationally has diminished but the success of Prizet Court is due to the high quality of the modern office space offered.

“Kendal and the surrounding areas are distinctly short of this kind of development.”

Planning documents add: “There is still demand for the Prizet site from potential occupiers, and the proposal for further business unit at Prizet South would meet a specific and urgent requirement from a local business who would benefit from the location on the main trunk road to the M6 and into the National Park and who would prefer to be in South Lakeland.”

However, the inspector states there does not appear to be an ‘essential requirement’ for a rural location or ‘robust justification’ for this.

The report adds main town centre uses should be located in town centres, then in edge of centre locations; and only if suitable sites are not available, should out of centre sites be considered.

The Planning Inspectorate refused this appeal on April 17.