CONTROVERSIAL proposals for a holiday lodge resort on the Furness coast are continuing to divide opinion.

Campaigners say their main argument against the new development is based on the damage they say will be done to the unique sand dune habitat at Sandscale Haws National Nature Reserve, which is a haven for natterjack toads, rare bees and other creatures.

And the Save Roanhead group said any jobs produced by the project will be low pay and short term, while Barrow will gain nothing. Friends of the Lake District have taken issue with the environmental and visual impacts.

However the company behind the proposed holiday resort have countered these arguments and claim that there is 'no net change predicted' at Sandscale Haws National Nature Reserve 'due to carefully designed layout.'

The real-estate group ILM said pond and wetland habitats would be created on-site and 'increase substantially', providing foraging opportunities for birds, and breeding habitat for natterjack toads.

A 15-metre buffer will be established around the edge of ancient woodland while its protection 'will be increased with regular monitoring', said ILM.

They stated the existing woodland will be 'retained in full' while new areas will be planted across the site. They refuted claims of light pollution as 'negligible' and say that 'no significant ground contamination or engineering risks have been identified.'

ILM said their socio-economic analysis suggests the resort will have a 'long-term beneficial impact on employment' with upskilling opportunities and apprenticeships.

They said that once operational, the development will generate 279 jobs, with 50% of these workers coming directly from Barrow.

A consultation with Cumbria Tourism was 'very positive' as they believe the resort will bring 'benefits to the locality', said ILM

The resort is planning to reduce guest reliance on car use with a Site-Wide Travel Plan, including a shuttle bus service as well as cycle hire.

To counter claims of overpopulating the area with tourists, ILM carried out an analysis on the guest capacity at Roanhead resort, predicting a total of 1,374 people at the resort per day.

They also said that the applicant is happy to offer a post-development study, carried out independently, to establish the economic and social benefits of the development.