Work to start on £300K lakeshore upgrade

Work could start on a major upgrade to a popular Lake District tourist destination early in the new year, after councillors approved the award of a contract to carry out the improvements.

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South Lakeland District Council’s (SLDC’s) Cabinet approved the award of the tender for the improvements at Waterhead, on the northern shore of Windermere, at its meeting this week (25 November).

Waterhead includes an extensive lake frontage, with a ferry pier and a mix of hotels, guesthouses, a youth hostel, pub, shops and cafes. It forms a gateway to Ambleside and the rest of the northern Lakes and its stunning views attract visitors from all over the world every year.

SLDC is investing £280,000 to fund the improvements and Lakes Parish Council is also committing at least £20,000 to the scheme.

Plans were drawn up for the improvements following an extensive public consultation earlier this year and a planning application was approved by the Lake District National Park Authority in October.

The upgrade will include widening the promenade and resurfacing walkways, repairing walls and installing a ‘panorama’ board, developed with Ambleside Civic Trust, to identify key Lakeland landmarks that can be seen from the shore.

There will also be new dry stone walls to protect planting beds and provide informal seating, as well as cycle stands and better landscaping, along with railings and litter bins more in keeping with the location and surroundings.

Thanks to the co-operation of Windermere Lake Cruises the scheme also includes the installation of a disabled access ramp to the Waterhead Information Centre.

Key aims of the project are to:

· deliver a promenade which residents and businesses can be proud of

· improve the visitor experience and create an environment which encourages people to return

· restore and enhance existing features along the promenade

· make better use of space along the waterfront, improving it for pedestrians

· deliver a sustainable and environmentally friendly scheme, using durable materials which are locally sourced

The Cabinet decision to award the contract to the approved tenderer means work can begin on site in January. It is intended the work will be completed in the off-season, before Easter 2016, to minimise disruption.

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