Cumbria Wind Energy Supplementary Planning Document

Dates: 2004-2006

Client: Cumbria County Council

Context: Government target that 20% of UK’s electricity generating capacity should be supplied from renewable energy sources by 2020. Supports policies set out in new Cumbria and Lake District Joint Structure Plan 2001 – 2016. Replaces previous supplementary planning guidance issued in 1997 with guidance suitable for third generation onshore wind turbines up to 120m high and is being developed by seven local planning authority partners.

Description: Guidance on the landscape capacity to accommodate wind energy schemes and the potential scale that would be appropriate lies at the heart of this document. It is intended to set out a positive approach to onshore wind energy development guiding it to the most appropriate locations and ensuring that key characteristics and qualities of Cumbria’s landscapes are safeguarded. Coates Associates were initially asked to formulate a methodology and define sensitivity criteria to assess both general capacity and the potential impacts of individual proposals. Our approach to this started with the collation of references and the review of current best practice in capacity and impact assessment for wind energy development, it also builds on the Cumbria Landscape Classification in which our landscape director had a lead role and draws on our experience in assessing current wind farm proposals. We worked closely with the client’s lead landscape officer in developing a suitable methodology, piloting it on two landscape types and making refinements before rolling it out across a total of 14 landscape types. At the same time Coates Associates updated the guidance for landscape and visual impact assessment for individual developments to ensure that these are comprehensive, of a consistent high standard, inform the design process, and present illustrations in a legible and realistic manner. Supplementary work was later commissioned with regard to guidance on design and cumulative effects.


  • Preparation of Part 1 Guidance Chapters on Siting, Design and Cumulative Effects
  • Preparation of Part 2 Landscape Capacity Assessment
  • Preparation of Part 3 Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment Guidance

Plain Quarry Amenity Area

Dates: 2003-2005

Client: Holme Park Quarry Liaison Committee

Context: Small 19th century limestone quarry next Hutton Roof Crags SSSI and Limestone Pavement Order

Description: Restoration of quarry (1.2 ha) owned by Burton-in-Kendal Parish Council undertaken through the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund administered by English Nature as part of a programme of local environmental enhancement projects. Close collaboration between Coates Associates and the client’s representative and community consultation were key factors in the success of this scheme. The quarry floor had been dominated by bland expanse of gravel and visitors were deterred by use of the quarry for road stone storage and motor bike scrambling. The design has articulated the space within the quarry using mounding and native planting to segregate vehicular areas and provide shelter and interest whilst maintaining open visibility from the road to provide some degree of self policing. Motor bike scrambling is discouraged by strategically placed barriers and obstacles. Careful specification of a thin impoverished topsoil mixed with limestone dust and light seeding with low growing native grasses and wild flowers has created a low maintenance grass sward that will be receptive to colonisation by the indigenous limestone flora from around the quarry. A spiral landmark formed by limestone blocks of diminishing size takes reference from natural forms in the geology and ecology of this area and celebrates the cultural connections of the quarry as well as providing casual seating and a focus for children’s play.


  • Preparation of outline proposals and sketches for community consultation
  • Negotiations with relevant authorities and Planning Application
  • Potential on-site contamination desk study to ensure no unacceptable risk of pollution
  • Detailed design, contract preparation, tender action and project management
  • Landscape maintenance specification for handover to Forest Enterprise
  • Text and drawings for interpretation boards

Town Foot Farm Residential Development

Dates: 2002-2003

Client: Private

Context: Farmstead in the centre of Cumrew, a Conservation Area and scarp foot village on the edge of the Vale of Eden within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Description: Development of 9 houses within the boundaries of the farmstead. These comprise: 2 no. existing farm houses; conversion of existing traditional outbuildings to form 4 no. 4 bed dwellings and erection of 3 no. 4 bed dwellings following the removal of modern farm buildings. The effects of the Foot & Mouth outbreak in 2001 together with difficulties of operating a dairy farm in a village led to a decision to cease farming at Town Foot Farm. Careful planning appraisal and project direction by Coates Associates has enabled the full development potential of the site to be realised whilst ensuring a positive contribution to the character of the {mosimage}Conservation Area and its setting within the AONB. Key aspects were replacement of modern barns with buildings of more vernacular construction and containment of the development within the village boundary coupled with careful design of the layout to reflect the historic form of the village, the use of traditional materials and discrete off street parking. An initial scheme of ten new houses received objections and negotiations were subsequently held with the planning authority regarding housing supply and design. Permission was subsequently secured by reducing the number of new houses and the depth of development to avoid backland incursion.


  • Briefing and Appointment of Architect
  • Village ‘Townscape’ Appraisal
  • Planning Application and Supporting Statement
  • Negotiations with Carlisle City Council
  • Marketing and Sale of Site

Contemporary House

Dates: 2004-2005

Client: Private

Context: Woodland site within a former estate in the centre of the Lake District National Park

Description: Replacement of a 1970s 3 bedroom bungalow with large picture windows, large dormer extension, and further ad hoc extensions with a new 3 bedroom 2 storey house of contemporary design. Our task was to turn around an existing proposal that had been refused on the grounds that it was of a larger size and value than the bungalow it replaced and that the design was ill proportioned and was neither of the local vernacular or innovative. We achieved this by lodging an appeal to affirm that under current planning policy a replacement dwelling, regardless of size or value, was acceptable whilst at the same time improving the design. We worked in close collaboration with a second architect, appointed by the client, who successfully interpreted our brief to achieve a dwelling of a unique design, of its time, that “organically” evolves from the receiving rocky slope, is light and multi facetted to reduce visual bulk and uses traditional materials of the locality, such as slate stone walls, terracotta tiles, slate and copper sheet roofing, but in a contemporary style. Bat roosts in the existing bungalow emerged as another planning issue. Through our co-ordination of an appropriate expert acceptable mitigation was secured comprising demolition of the bungalow outside the hibernation period and incorporation of replacement roosts in the proposed roof space and walls.


  • Lodging an Appeal on First Application
  • Preparation of Design Brief for Revised Application
  • Negotiations with Lake District National Park Planning Authority
  • Planning Application and Supporting Statement for Revised Application
  • Sourcing and Co-ordination of Bat Specialist

Conversion of a Former Farmhouse to B&B

Dates: 2002

Client: Private

Context: Historic farmstead of listed building standard within the Lake District National Park, drainage to tributary that flows into Buttermere SSSI.

Description: This scheme involved the conversion of barns (one in fact being once a farmhouse, dating back to around 1620), and the renovation of the 1860’s farmhouse, to form a Bed and Breakfast business with 10 en suite rooms. The farm had been devastated by Foot and Mouth Disease in 2001, and diversification has contributed to the revival of the rural economy. Close consultation and co-operation with the LDNPA enabled planning permission for the conversion to be secured within six months. Details include retention of historic fabric; rare features revealed and renovated eg inglenook stone fire hood, bread ovens and sandstone surrounds to mullion windows; limited rebuilding of walls with random rendering to match original character; retained and additional cobbling; repositioning of oak trusses to permit full head height on first floor; incorporation of a swallow loft, owl and bat boxes; effluent treatment by package treatment works with reed bed filtration of outflow to reduce nutrient content.

Award: Commendation under the Royal Town Planning Northern Branch Awards 2004. Judges reported that “the works have been carried out with great sensitivity, both for the historic buildings and the local environment and wildlife, resulting in a high quality restoration of buildings of local heritage interest”.


  • Planning Appraisal
  • Sourcing, Briefing and Co-ordination of Architect and Specialist Structural Engineer
  • Negotiations with LDNPA Planning and Building Conservation Officers and the Environment Agency
  • Planning Application and Supporting Statement