A ‘HUGELY’ useful measure which helped prevent ‘utter chaos’ on Cumbria’s roads has not been renewed for another year.
Last year, the government extended permitted development rights, allowing landowners to use their land as temporary car parks or campsites for 56 days, instead of the usual 28 days.
However, the government has decided not to extend the fees this year, which has worried the area’s MP and the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA), who say the extension has been ‘extremely helpful’ to reduce pressure on county roads and parking lots.
It comes as the county prepares for what is expected to be “another extremely” busy summer.
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Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron has written to Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Michael Gove asking him to reconsider.
Similarly, the Lake District National Park Authority formally requested the government to extend the rights earlier this year.
“In 2020, there was absolute chaos, with people parking in parking lots, people camping in places they shouldn’t,” Mr Farron said.
“It was absolute chaos and in 2021 that wasn’t so much the case.
“And the reason for that was that the government allowed landowners, mostly farmers, to have a campsite or a parking lot in their field for 56 days.
“It worked perfectly to calm the situation and reduce the pressure on the roads and parking lots.
“And the government has no intention of doing it again, which is really irritating.
“So I have written to Michael Gove to say it is working very well it is a free thing for us to do it it will bring money to the farmers and help the tourism economy and prevent the place to be congested, Easter and summer nightmare.
LDNPA ranger service and strategy manager Hanna Latty said the authority, along with partner agencies, will work to manage “potential issues” arising from another busy summer and is focusing on promoting the use of sustainable modes of transport.
“A number of Lake District landowners have made full use of the extension of permitted development rights to 56 days over the summers of 2020 and 2021 to help manage and respond to increased domestic tourism and reduced the use of sustainable transport following the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.
“Over the past two busy seasons, we have found the extension of the planning rules extremely useful as it allowed the number of parking spaces available to be temporarily increased, depending on demand.
“Earlier this year, we formally requested the Government to extend the permitted development rights period for 2022, on behalf of all Cumbria Visitors Tactical Management Group partners.
“In lieu of the 56-day rule extension, we will continue to work to manage potential issues during the 2022 season, building on the work undertaken with our partners and communities over the past two seasons.
“Detailed plans for the coming season have been agreed, including seven Area Action Plans covering geographical areas of the Lake District.”
LDNPA is expected to receive funding to support visitor management, including three sustainable transportation shuttles in specific locations.
It also works to promote and encourage sustainable travel and to develop ticket offers to make this choice more affordable.
And it works with partners to maximize the allowed 28-day development rights by “coordinating and ensuring the best 28 days are utilized.”
Cumbria Police said they would continue to work closely with the national park to tackle any potential issues.
“As the weather improves over Easter and summer, we expect another extremely busy period, particularly in tourist areas,” a police spokesman said.
“There is every indication that more people than ever before are now looking to holiday in the UK rather than holiday overseas which will likely result in a large number of people traveling here.
“Our officers work closely with the Lake District National Park Authority and other partners, including local councils, and we encourage visitors to treat the area with respect, including planning ahead for you. make sure you’re safe and don’t harm the environment.”