A PROPERTY owner has been granted permission to build a publicly accessible library in the Lake District.

Philip Johnston has been given the green light to make extensions and alterations to the historic Powder Magazine, a residential property used in conjunction with the management of Coniston Coppermines Scheduled Monument.

It is also used in the management of the nearby holiday accommodation, part of the Coppermines Lakes Cottages, that Mr Johnston owns.

The planning statement says: "The relationship between the application site and the Ancient Monument is a key factor in the need for the development that is now proposed.

"The proposals involved the creation of a first floor over the northern part of the dwelling, and alterations to the existing first-floor element. 

READ MORE: Plan for staff accommodation at hotel and restaurant faces opposition

"At the ground floor, there are improvements to the staircase access proposed and the addition of a fire escape route to the rear of the building.

"There are no alterations proposed to the historic Powder Magazine itself, all of the changes relate to the later additions to the building.

"The first-floor extension will deliver two additional bedrooms, and improve the existing attic bedroom. 

"A key element of the proposals is the creation of an archive library, which will be used to hold the vast amount of historic information the applicant holds in relation to the Coniston Coppermines. 

"It is the intention that this information will be made available to the public by appointment and it is understood that there has already been interest for academic purposes."

Natural England and Historic England had no objections to the proposal, and Coniston Parish Council discussed the issue, but according to the planning officer's report: "The merits, or otherwise of the plan were debated and were so evenly balanced that the Parish Council was unable to come to a single view on the application."

Conditions were placed on the approval that the roof be finished in local Cumbrian slate, and that the external walls be finished in a roughcast render.

Concluding, the Lake District National Park Authority officer's report says: "I consider that the site, as part of the overall Coniston Coppermines area, contributes to the character of the local mining, quarrying, and water-powered industry.

"The site is also registered common land. 

"The evidence suggests persistent occupation for these uses for hundreds of years.

"Anything which might disrupt landscape character might well cause harm to an Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site, but as I have concluded above that the development proposals would maintain the character of the site and not enlarge the site, the impact of the development would not cause harm to the designated heritage assets."

READ MORE: Respected four time Town Mayor dies aged 78