A new education and community centre on land owned by Matterdale Parish Council has been given the go-ahead.
The application was approved at a meeting of a Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) development control committee despite the Old Recreation Ground location being part of land designated as open countryside.
Committee members were told representation had been received from Friends of the Lake District who, despite having some concerns about the principle of the development in the open countryside, they considered that, on balance, the proposal would be a justified exception.
The Friends recommended, as a condition of their support, that new planting was required along with a lighting plan to minimise the effect of light pollution, ecology enhancement, PV panels, electric vehicles charging points and bicycle parking to be secured by condition.
Planning officer Ben Long said there is to be a parking area to the left hand side, mostly to be resurfaced as an enforced grass finish.
“It is my view that the proposal would have some moderate landscape impact, but that the needs and benefits of the development to the local community are such that they would outweigh those harms and we are recommending approval, with conditions,” said Mr Long.
In a report, the committee was told Matterdale had had a village hall since the 1940s, located in the Old School, owned by the county council.
Over the years the fabric of the building deteriorated, it became uncomfortable to use and attendance declined.
Eventually it was sold by Cumbria County Council in 2016, and the village hall was “lost”.
That year, the county council transferred ownership of the New School, next to the Old School and formerly an outdoor centre, to Matterdale Parish Council and provided some modest funding following the sale of the Old School to allow for the development of a new community facility on the Old Recreation Ground.