A PARISH council has objected to an application by a farming company to build 20 holiday lodges on its land 'to secure the long-term future of the business'.

Low Moor Howe Farm Ltd has submitted the proposal to the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) to site the lodges on land at Rosthwaite Farm, 2km south of Bowness, as part of a 'tourism diversification project'.

The company had withdrawn two previous similar bids after concerns were raised by LDNPA over access and visual impact on the surrounding areas.

A 'Need Appraisal' submitted with the application cites 'unsustainable financial difficulties' and 'substantial annual losses, which have in some recent years exceeded £200,000.'

The company occupies around 690 hectares which is used for farming sheep and cattle, as well as selling shooting rights and forestry.

Regarding the proposal, the planning statement says: "The development involves the siting 20 lodges for holiday letting purposes and a reception lodge.

"The number of lodges proposed is based on the level of income which needs to be generated to support the farm business."

The proposal also includes the creation of a new access road.

Cartmel Fell Parish Council has recommended refusal of the application on a variety of grounds.

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Its official objection letter states: "This proposal is for a new commercial development in a sensitive, undeveloped site, in an area which is afforded the highest levels of protection for its landscape and scenic beauty and which is also recognised as being of international importance.

Regarding the stated need for diversification, it states: "The applicant company is not alone in facing such uncertainty and whilst we can sympathise from a business operating perspective we do not consider this to be a key planning issue.

"Similarly, citing business 'losses' as necessitating the need for a significant development proposal is not considered to be a clear-cut or defining factor in arriving at a planning decision."

The council says there is 'insufficient detail' about the disposal of effluent waste generated by the proposal.

It also says that the local need for such a proposal does not exist, saying: "Critically, the application fails to demonstrate a clear 'need' for a such a new site within the locality.

"Other such sites already exist both within the immediate vicinity and in other areas close by."