ILM Group, has submitted a revised planning application for Roanhead Lodge Resort – a sustainably-designed destination that stands to deliver over £10m of additional visitor spend to the economy of Cumbria annually.
If approved, the proposals for the site – located at Roanhead estate near Askam-in-Furness – will bring high-quality eco-friendly visitor accommodation and a range of brand-new facilities to the Furness area, designed to enhance its reputation as a great place to live, work and visit.
The amenities planned include a health and wellness club, children’s activity zones, an education centre, and a brasserie, all of which will be open to the public. Conversations are also underway with several local community groups about giving them access to the facilities on site.
A previous application for Roanhead Lodge Resort was withdrawn in December 2023 so that ILM Group could review the extensive feedback received, in particular concerns expressed by environmental campaign groups. Having listened to this feedback, a more balanced and sensitive approach has been taken to the masterplanning process, which almost halves the number of lodges proposed on the resort from 450 down to 233. In turn, this will significantly reduce the number of visitors to the site and potential associated impacts on the natural environment.
The scheme does not encroach on any protected ecological areas and, as part of the new masterplan, buffer zones between the resort and designated nature sites has been expanded. Greater protection has also been afforded to the nearby ancient woodland and the construction access to the site has been moved away from this area. Additionally, in direct response to concerns raised about potential disturbance to wildlife, dogs will no longer be allowed at the resort.
ILM Group is in constructive dialogue with Natural England to help ensure the scheme is designed as sustainably and sensitively as possible. In doing so, Natural England has looked in detail at measures being introduced to create enhanced habitat areas for wildlife species such as natterjack toads and curlews, treatment of the nearby ancient woodland, and sustainable drainage systems (SuDs) and wastewater. This feedback has been considered in the resubmission and their formal response is being awaited.
Although natterjack toads do not breed at Roanhead Farm, the developer has also been working with a natterjack toad specialist to consider the population of this important species in and around nearby Sandscale Haws. This includes introducing specially designed natterjack toad habitat creation and contributions to off-site habitat creation and management, as well as additional measures to minimise potential harm from the road network.
Research undertaken by Hatch as part of the planning resubmission demonstrates the significant economic boost that the resort could deliver for the Furness area, with an anticipated annual increase in visitor spend totalling £10.8m, with over 80% of that spend expected in Barrow In Furness.
The resort will also create 209 jobs during construction and an additional 184 permanent jobs during operation with 164 of these expected on-site at Roanhead Resort. The vast majority of these jobs will go to residents of Barrow-in-Furness and Cumbria. Apprenticeship opportunities will be offered via a new training academy on the site.
The proposed lodges will be made of sustainable materials with green roof technology and will incorporate low carbon measures, such as high levels of insulation and low carbon heating systems. Other sustainability measures planned for the resort include rainwater harvesting, on site electric vehicle charging, solar energy generation, kitchen gardens for food production and state-of-the-art recycling measures. Some of the existing buildings on the site will be repurposed to form the resort centre.
Andrew Coutts, CEO of ILM Group said: “We recognise the strength of feeling relating to our previous proposals and have listened intently to feedback, evolving our approach to provide a new masterplan for Roanhead Lodge Resort that is much more balanced and sensitive to the surrounding environment.
“At the same time, the proposals continue to represent a major opportunity to stimulate the visitor economy locally, create hundreds of jobs, and provide high-quality amenities, which will support the Furness area’s transformation into a thriving place to live, work and visit.
“Dedicated visitor accommodation, with the appropriate infrastructure, facilities, and professional management in place to support it, has an important role to play in this journey, ensuring that economic growth is realised sustainably and that there is a positive impact on the wider community.”
Jo Lappin, CEO at Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership: “The Cumbria LEP fully supports the development of tourist facilities across Cumbria, so that visitors have the opportunity to experience the exceptional offer available across the whole of the county. The Roanhead Lodge resort will provide an excellent base for visitors to discover and explore the Furness Peninsula and its natural, industrial and cultural offer.
“It is really encouraging to see that the Resort developers have listened and responded to feedback from residents and stakeholders and taken this into account in developing their further plans for the site.”
The planning application will now go to consultation and people are invited to share their formal comments. To learn more about the proposed resort visit: www.roanhead.com.