A PROPOSAL to build 12 homes has been submitted to the Lake District National Park Authority.

If approved the development would see six affordable homes and six houses designated for local occupancy built in Keswick.

They would be located on the site of the former

Little Dodd Garden Centre in Underskiddaw, which

is situated just off the

A591, north of the town centre.

Developers say the two, three and four-bedroom homes would be designed to be sympathetic to the local landscape, particularly through the use of render and slate finishes, which are distinctive to the National Park.

Proposals also include a central courtyard and resident parking.

The National Park Authority describes the provision of affordable housing as one of the Lake District’s biggest challenges. Only a third of all dwellings granted permission since 2014 in the North Distinctive Area were to be locally affordable. The issue is even more acute in rural areas where house prices are much higher, with only nine new dwellings having been granted consent outside of villages since 2016.

The development is the vision of Keswick resident Andrew Lewington who hopes to help local people get on the property ladder.

He said: “Around 14 per cent of Keswick properties are second homes or holiday lets.

“Of course, tourism is at the heart of the Lake District and must be supported, but not to the detriment of local people.

“Young professionals and families are locked out of the housing market by the growing disparity between household incomes and local property prices.” Instead of staying here to live and work, as they aspire, they are moving elsewhere taking their skills, spend and local links with them. The development will help local people buy local homes, something many people tell me they could never dream of until now.”