A TOWN council has written to Michael Gove in a bid to reclaim ownership of the lakebed of Windermere, which could see £750,000 pumped back into the town.

Windermere and Bowness Town Council has written to the Secretary of State for Levelling-up, Housing and Communities, making the case for the return of ownership of the lakebed to the community from South Lakeland District Council (SLDC).

The council believes the creation of new unitary authorities in Cumbria provides a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ to reconsider the situation and wants to see the funds generated by the lake and its surroundings ring fenced to invest in Windermere and Bowness’ infrastructure.

An SLDC spokesman said funds the council derives from the lakebed-through permanent and holiday moorings, encroachment rents, short-term jetty berthing, boat storage, launches and related services at Ferry Nab Marina-go to front line services.

He added that the decision of ownership will be a matter for the new Westmorland and Furness Council, which will manage services in the area currently covered by South Lakeland, Eden and Barrow councils.

Mayor of Windermere and Bowness, Councillor Adrian Legge, says funds could be spent on extra police patrols, car parking and toilet facilities and much more.

And he hopes the funding could prevent the ‘chaos’ seen in the area during the summer, after an influx of tourists, happening again.

“If our communities are to have a bright and healthy future, we need significant funds and resources invested in our infrastructure,” he said.

“Ring-fencing of income generated by the lake should ensure the provision and maintenance of essential facilities for the town and community for which the lakebed was purchased.

“It is only fair that the income generated by the lake and the immediate surrounding area should be used locally as originally intended, to be invested in our future within a World Heritage site.

“SLDC has made great progress on improvements to the waterfront in Bowness, but we have a long way to go before we can match the pristine lakeside resorts of continental Europe.”

The lakebed was originally purchased by the people of Windermere in 1938, using funds donated by local benefactor Leigh Groves.

Ownership was then transferred to SLDC in 1974.

A spokesman for SLDC said: “The lake is administered through the Lake Administration Committee which comprises members from the Lakes Parish Council, Windermere Town Council and the District Council.

“Any surplus income from SLDC’s operations, including our car parking across the district and the lake, is re-invested in front line services.

“Local government in Cumbria is changing from April 1, 2023. The current six district councils, along with Cumbria County Council will be replaced by two new unitary authorities.

“We expect that any discussion about the ownership of the lakebed would be a matter for the new Westmorland and Furness Council to consider.’’