2018 is set to be a very interesting year for Keswick, according to town mayor Susan Leighton.

“ There are some big issues coming up and some great opportunities,” she predicted.

She expects those issues to include flood defence work, more new affordable homes and a decision on the future of the Keswick Leisure pool.

The facility is at the end of its life and Allerdale Council has to decide how to replace it.

As the News & Star reported 18 months ago, Allerdale council leader Alan Smith said discussions over the future of the Keswick pool and leisure facilities were under way.

He said at the time: "We have a range of options and our officers are working on the different ideas.

"Visitors like the fun pool but locals like a tank pool. We are looking at options, but at the end of the day, it is what the people of Keswick want.”

Proposals are expected to be announced in the coming months and Mrs Leighton said: “ It has come to the end of its life and something needs doing.

“ Nothing will be happening next year, but by the end of the year there will be some suggestions as to what and how and where a replacement could be.

One of the biggest issue will be the final design of the £7million Derwent Project for the redevelopment of the old pencil factory site by the Keswick Ministries.

T he scheme to convert the land into a new home for the town’s Christian convention is expected to to be put forward for planning permission later this year.

The Ministries group came in for heavy criticism from many businesses and residents last year when it announced it wanted to move the convention so that it was staged entirely during the school summer holidays.

There were claims that the event strangled business in the town. Organisers have now said that the convention dates will not be changed and have said the event will be altered to allow those attending more free time and the opportunity to see more of the town.

And Mrs Leighton is expecting to see more visitors as a result of the town being granted World Heritage Status.

A plaque to mark the honour will be unveiled on Derwentwater foreshore in the spring and the mayor expects it will lead to a surge in tourists and possibly a different sort of visitor who is only interested in visiting heritage sites.

Speaking about flood resilience work, the Mayor said: “We have already had one near miss before Christmas. The problems will be ongoing until the bigger picture is altered with work carried out on the upper catchment area and continuing to move gravel out.

“ It is a complex issue, but until things change, people can't rest easy.”

She added: “One of the challenges is to work together to look at the issues - whether that is town planning working with businesses, working with the Environment Agency or other authorities.

“ It is complicated in Keswick because you the National Park Authority, Allerdale council, the county council and the county council all trying to work together.

But Keswick has an interesting year ahead.”