Hawkshead (South Lakeland District Council)



The village of Hawkshead is in the administrative district of South Lakeland District Council, in the heart of the Lake District National Park. It is about five miles from Ambleside along the A591 and B5286 and, by ferry, from Bowness-on-Windermere.

The village is in the parish of Hawkshead and in 1995 had a population of about 608 in 308 households. (i)

Case study
The case study in Hawkshead was on Springwood, a development of four three-bedroom houses, two two-bedroom houses and two flats owned by Home Housing Association.

Profile of the Village
1. Important attributes for residents living in Hawkshead

  • 50% stated that the location and surrounding scenery of Hawkshead was important.
  • 50% stated that the good community spirit was also a key factor for living in Hawkshead.

2. Services available in the village

  • School
  • Four pubs
  • Post office
  • Pharmacist
  • Hairdresser
  • Co-op
  • Doctor

There are many services in Hawkshead, most relying on the tourist industry, such as the Beatrix Potter centre and outdoor clothing shops. The village is self sufficient and the school is well attended.

3. School

  • Hawkshead Esthwaite Primary School teaches children aged 4-11.

The details outlined below have been taken from the 2000 OFSTED inspection report.

  • 75 pupils on school roll

‘This is a good school. Standards are particularly high in the core subjects of English, mathematics, and science.’

4. Police and fire

  • The nearest police station to Hawkshead is in Windermere. This station is not staffed 24 hours a day.
  • There is no fire station in Hawkshead; the nearest are in Coniston and Ambleside. These are staffed part-time.

5. Transport

  • There is one bus at least twice a day, five days a week.
  • There is a bus to Ambleside, Windermere and Kendal
  • Hawkshead to Ambleside £2.85 (adult single).
  • Hawkshead to Windermere £5.30 (adult single).
  • Hawkshead to Kendal £5.85 (adult single).
  • 84% of residents own a car.
  • The nearest train station is Windermere.

6. Local employment
The following information on local employment for Hawkshead was provided by the ward councillor:

  • Tourism/service industry and retail
  • Outdoor centres and activities
  • Local services.

7. Weekly average incomes
Cumbria Rural Housing Trust’s Rural Housing Strategy details weekly average incomes in South Lakeland based on an average of figures available from Cumbria County Council, New Earnings Survey and the Office of National Statistics. Averages were used as figures varied greatly: this information should therefore be used only for illustrative purposes. Employees on an average income would therefore need 11 times their annual salary to buy an average-priced house on the open market.


Gross Weekly IncomeWeekly IncomeLow PayHigh PayAverage annual Salary
South Lakeland£350.00284.00153.00632.00£18,200
*Note: Disposable income = 19% deducted from gross to take into account tax, NI and pension contributions

8. The cost of a bag of shopping
Compared with a nearby town-based supermarket.

  • Bread
  • Milk 1 pint
  • Eggs (6)
  • Beans (435g)
  • Tea (80-100bags)
  • Coffee (100g)
  • Toilet Rolls (4)
  • Butter (250g)

Total £7.19 @ Hawkshead, £5.96 @ Asda, Kendal.

Current housing provision in Hawkshead
1. Case study – Springwood, Hawkshead

  • Home Housing Association has a development of four three-bedroom houses, two two-bedroom houses and two flats.
  • They were completed in March 1995.
  • South Lakeland District Council has 50% nomination rights.
  • No houses have been lost through Right to Buy as it does not apply to these properties.
  • The properties are restricted by a section 106 agreement.
  • Only one property has become vacant in the last year.
  • No difficulty has been found in re-letting the property.
  • The properties are in Council Tax band C (£1,047.71)

Type of accommodation

Rent (per week)Service charge (per week)
2-bed houses£68.660
3-bed houses£76.830

2. Other social housing provision

  • South Lakeland District Council has 12 two-bedroom bungalows at Barnfield and seven three-bedroom houses at Hawksgarth.
  • Nine three-bedroom properties have been lost through the Right to Buy.
  • The National Trust has 15 properties in Hawkshead.

3. Council Tax banding
South Lakeland District Council reported that the majority of properties in RSL ownership would be either band B, C and D.

Council Band B£916.74
Council Band C£1,047.71
Council Band D£1,178.67

4. Housing market (Jan-March 2003) (ii)

Average House Price£199,310

Key statistics

  • 5% of total housing stock is rented social housing.
  • 38% of social landlord stock has been lost in the village through the Right to Buy. This figure includes social landlord stock where the Right to Acquire does not apply.
  • The 1991 Census records 78 properties where the accommodation is not used as a main residence or 25% of total housing stock.
  • The ratio of affordable housing to non-permanent-residence homes is 1:5.

4. Case-study return rate
There was a 50% response rate from the case-study questionnaire.

5. Reasons for residents accepting a tenancy

  • All the respondents from the affordable housing site came from the village.
  • Out of these, 33% had returned to the area.
  • 33% moved to increase their accommodation size.
  • 33% moved to form a new household.

6. Employment information
In the respondent households we found the following:

  • 50% of the tenants are employed full time.
  • 50% of the tenants are employed part time.
  • All respondents had use of a car, so could commute to work if necessary.
  • The commuting distance ranged from 5 to 40 miles.

Case study planning details: ref no: (7/94/5144)
1. Housing need
The housing needs information submitted in support of the planning application shows that 15 homes were needed over three years. Waiting lists showed 25 households registered for housing and 6 out of 14 council homes had been lost through Right to Buy.

A further survey in February/March 2000 by Cumbria Rural Housing Trust showed a further 19 households in housing need, despite the construction of Springwood.

2. Timescale
Application date: 30.03.94
Decision date: 04.07.94 (after various site visits)
Planning permission notice date: 28.02.95

The actual time to receive planning approval was three months. But the process of land acquisition and the subsequent signing of the Section
106 agreement delayed the issue of the actual planning permission notice, giving an overall timescale of ten months.

3. Planning policy at the time of development
This site was considered under the exception site policy.

A previous application for this site was withdrawn in 1993. Few details about the reasons for withdrawal were available.

4. Opposition and support to the scheme
Six letters were received from residents and one from the Friends of the Lake District that expressed the following concerns:

  • Urban-style intrusion into the countryside.
  • Loss of better-quality agriculture land.
  • The possibility that, in the long term, the houses would not be available to meet local needs.
  • Traffic hazards resulting from turning movements on the adjacent B road.
  • Detrimental effects on the tourism industry.
  • More suitable land is available in the village.
  • The development would have the appearance of ‘ribbon development’ of very little architectural merit.
  • The parking area and parked cars would be visually intrusive, particularly if lighting were introduced.
  • A precedent would be created, leading to further development in the area.
  • Garages should be provided, as this would be visually preferable to open-air car parking.

The district council, the parish council and the highways department all supported or had no objections to the development.

Importance and impact of affordable housing in Hawkshead

  • ‘Every single family lost is because they cannot afford a house’.
  • ‘I would estimate that about 2 dozen children [have been] lost from the school in the past 2 years.’
  • ‘Maintain family links’.
  • ‘Allowed children to go to local school’.
  • ‘Rent too high’.
  • ‘Water is on meter so cost can be high’.
  • ‘Need for more affordable housing as many friends had to move away’.

Parish council views
The parish council agreed with the findings of the survey.

The village’s economy depends on the tourist industry. Whether this reliance will sustain a community is questionable, as many local people appear to find access to affordable accommodation difficult, unless it is in the rented sector. This sector is small, at 5.23% of the total number of households. People think that more affordable housing is needed and that it should be cheaper. Evidence suggests a need for more low-cost housing.

Due to its attractive appearance and location, Hawkshead is a highly sought after village in which to own property, and this has meant that house prices are very high. The affordable housing is less expensive accommodation in comparison with open-market prices; however, this is still expensive compared to the average income of young families.

The affordable housing that has been built is regarded positively by the residents from both the homes and the village.
This appears to be because it has helped young families stay in the village which in turn has helped family connections, community spirit and to keep the local school populated.

Only one negative comment was made about the site.
So despite initial opposition to the planning application, this development appears to be successful.

i Cumbria County Council 1997 Local Profiles, www.cumbria.gov.uk - Office for National Statistics, Information and Intelligence 1997
ii Land Registry www.landregistry.gov.uk and upmystreet.com