Silverdale is a village of some 1500 people located between Lancaster and Kendal, off the beaten track but not far from the M6 and with a railway service to Manchester and Barrow. In the nineteenth century it expanded from a small scattered rural community to a village in which lived several wealthy businessmen and to which people would come for holidays and relaxation. Further residential development occurred following the provision of mains water in 1938 and in the 1960s and 70s, mostly in the form of bungalows and suburban style housing suitable for retired people.

Silverdale is noted for the beauty, diversity and scientific importance of its landscape, with limestone cliffs and pavements, luxuriant woodlands with many rare plants, trees and wildlife and superb views out over Morecambe Bay. Other attractive characteristics are the ever-changing shore-line; narrow, undulating lanes; a dense network of footpaths; open pastures and small sheltered paddocks; species-rich grasslands with rocky outcrops; limestone walls; historic wells; and some large Victorian and Edwardian dwellings.

As part of the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it continues to attract visitors, especially bird watchers, ramblers and caravanners, as well as retired people.  It is however a very popular residential location for all age groups and has a mixed and lively community. There is a wealth of voluntary organisations, a village school, several local shops, two churches, and provision for visitors in hotels and other accommodation. Caravan sites in or close to Silverdale bring visitors and trade to the village. Three care homes, two residential special schools, and a nursing home are also important elements of village life.

According to the 2001 Census, Silverdale has a high number of over 60s and retired people and 39% households comprise just pensioners.  The 20-29 age group is under-represented, but there are some 266 children and teenagers.  Almost all people are white and born in the UK and the number of single, separated and divorced people is low.  The population is generally affluent and well educated as indicated by the large proportion of owner-occupied detached houses, families with 2 or more cars, managerial and professional occupations, and graduates.

Information on local businesses is patchy but the Census shows that most people travel to work elsewhere, mainly by private vehicle, although a significant number work from home and 40 people walk to work.  Self-employment is relatively high and unemployment very low.  A majority of the workforce are in public service industries, especially education and health, while a tiny number now work in agriculture, forestry and quarrying.

Background to the Parish Plan

Parish Plans are part of the ‘Vital Villages’ scheme being run by the Countryside Agency, enabling residents to take stock of their parish, identify needs and bring this information together in a practical document. The Parish Council felt such a plan would to give everyone a chance to say how they would like Silverdale to be improved.  It would be used as an agreed framework for local action on the ground, to support bids for funding and to feed into the statutory development plan. They were therefore invited to host a pilot project.

The process began with wide community consultation. A questionnaire survey and a Village Conference built on an earlier 1997 village appraisal. The Plan summarises the results of the consultation exercises under the eight main topic headings, namely:

  • Shops and the village centre
  • Public services
  • Transport
  • The countryside
  • Housing
  • Older people
  • Children and parents
  • Recreation and young people

The consultation showed that people love living in Silverdale; they value the peace and quiet, the beautiful countryside, the friendly and active community, and good village facilities. There are particular things that are working especially well in Silverdale and some areas that people would like to see improved.

An outline of these is given for each of the above topics and some further details are included of specific consultation carried out by the children and parents group and with the two main sports clubs and community halls.

The Action Group Reports

The next stage of the process was to take the wants and needs expressed through the consultation and to look at whether and how these can be turned into reality. Eight Action Groups were set up.  Each Group focussed on the key priorities from the consultation and identified what, if any, action needed to be taken in the short, medium and long term. The main issues addressed and actions proposed were as follows:

The Village Centre and Shops

  • The need for short term visual improvements to the centre, including maintenance by the Council and property owners, is recognised and specific suggestions made.
  • Existing and future car-parking is a key issue, overlapping with the concerns of the Transport Group.
  • Consideration was given to how to progress ideas for a new centre for the village, involving the re-arrangement of parking, roads, pavements and public spaces; a Planning for Real exercise is proposed, followed by consultation, incorporation into the statutory Development Plan, and a two-stage implementation.
  • A major concern was how to ensure the continued existence of the village shops; a shopping survey has been undertaken and a campaign is proposed.

Public Services

  • Library: Discussion of the history, usage and future plans for the library, was followed by a questionnaire to discover customers’ aspirations for the library. A meeting with the county library service is to identify funding and assessment criteria. Guidelines relating to a proposed new library for Silverdale and alternative methods to fund the library are to be identified.
  • Emergency Ambulance Service: The Parish Council must press for and monitor the implementation of change to current practices.
  • Assisting the Police: the reporting of vandalism and petty theft to the police should be encouraged.


  • Buses: the Silverdale Shuttle provides an essential service for many village residents yet is underused.  The number of trains met by the shuttle and the routes taken should be reviewed, including the possibility of a Sunday service. Greater publicity is needed. Suggestions to increase access to buses include a bus shelter in the village centre and raising pavements for low access buses.
  • Car Parking: to overcome congestion in the village centre, sites must be investigated for car-parking, both for shopping and school drop off / pick up.  Provision for short and long term parking should be included in village centre improvement plans.  A survey has been carried out to investigate parking needs.
  • The School: in addition to parking proposals, a no waiting scheme in Emesgate Lane is to be investigated and walking to school encouraged.
  • Speed Limits: the introduction of varied speed limits is suggested, together with measures to increase awareness of the dangers of speeding amongst Silverdale residents.
  • Signing: Improve signposting and remove those signposts that are unnecessary.

The Countryside

  • It can be difficult in an AONB to strike a balance between protecting the countryside and allowing people to access it for recreation.  The AONB is supported by many organisations, both voluntary and professional, and generally there is an appreciation of the fragility and importance of the local ecosystem.
  • Planning and Liaison:  Maintaining and strengthening relations between the Parish Council and conservation bodies, liaison over planning and development plans and continuing to inform villagers about planning applications, are all important, with emphasis on community action. An integrated approach should be taken to future planning in the village including the AONB Management Plan and the Lancaster City Council Local Plan / Development Framework.
  • Tourism: the existing tourist market for naturalists, ornithologists and walkers should be developed and the possibility of a festival to celebrate the importance and beauty of the area is to be investigated.
  • Other Environmental Issues:  there should be a renewed campaign against dog fouling, raised awareness of the impact of pets on the environment, encouragement of ecologically sound pest control, action against litter, encouragement of recycling and more monitoring (and control ?) of noise pollution.
  • Other action includes introducing a nest-box scheme and purchasing pieces of land to be set aside for conservation.


  • Villagers want to see affordable housing provided for younger village families, open countryside preserved, and limited or no further development of housing. It is recognised that these are conflicting aims.
  • Average house prices in Silverdale were found to be more than double house prices in Lancaster. Currently 75% of dwellings in the Parish are in middle or high Council Tax Bands.
  • There is only a limited amount of local authority or social housing available for rent in the village. Some privately rented properties help in meeting housing need, but are unlikely to be sustained over the next decade. The proposed development of six homes at Know Hill was granted planning permission under the “exceptions” planning policy to help meet an identified need in 1991 for affordable housing. There will be a small increase in the number of rented properties when this development goes ahead.
  • No action should be taken until the development at Know Hill is built and the current extent of demand is known. The Parish Council may then consider conducting another housing needs survey and investigating other sites to build on.
  • Any new housing should be kept to a minimum, should be permitted only if proposals meet identified village needs, and should normally be provided on “brownfield” sites. New developments should follow the traditional vernacular design and suburban bungalows should be avoided. Attempts to develop  “greenfield” sites should be resisted.

Older People

  • A majority of residents expressed satisfaction with the range of services and opportunities needed, or wanted by older people in the village.
  • A desire was expressed for sheltered housing in the village centre. The Parish Council explored this idea and concluded that at present there was little chance of a village centre site becoming available. If this situation changed, the Parish Council would communicate with relevant organisations in the village.

Children and Parents

  • Play facilities in the village are limited and those existing need to be made safer and need updating to meet the play needs of children of all ages.
  • Existing Playground: There is an immediate need for safety improvements to be made such as cleaning the grounds and repairing the wall, repainting equipment and removing old and unused climbing frames. If no new playground is built a safer slide, safer swings and safety matting should be installed in place of old equipment.
  • New Playground: There is a strong desire to re-design Cove Road playing field to provide a good play environment for young children. Funding sources, possible facilities and designs for new equipment are being looked into.
  • A group of parents have established a new charitable trust, ‘Action for Silverdale Children’. They will work with the Parish Council to improve and develop facilities at Cove Road playing field

Recreation and Young People

  • There is a clearly recognised need for improvement to current recreational facilities in the village. Silverdale Sports and Recreation Committee has been established to communicate with organisations and carry out research into recreational needs. This includes work to look at land ownership (many sites are held in trust), planning permission, gaining funding, getting residents’ support and future maintenance of the facilities.
  • Both the Bowling Club and Cricket Club have recently improved their facilities and have further plans for development.
  • Use of Existing Facilities: proposals to maximise the use of existing facilities include involving more children, young people and women, organising coaching sessions, exploring residents’ rates at Holgates and lighting at the Bowling Club.
  • Possibilities are being actively explored for providing tennis courts in the village, and for a football ground. It appears unlikely that these could be provided on the same site. Maintenance, insurance, and access and car parking issues are important concerns.

Vision and Objectives

While many of the actions will achieve ‘quick wins’, others are longer term aspirations, all contributing to  the following vision of how village is to develop in the longer term:

Silverdale will be a socially mixed, environmentally friendly and economically prosperous community, with recreational, shopping, library and public transport facilities to meet the main needs of its residents and visitors, and housing for local people of all ages who wish to remain there; the community will be working together to protect its special environment and to enable all to enjoy it in a way that maintains enjoyment by  future generations.

In order to achieve the Vision, the Plan sets out 16 objectives, which have arisen from the Consultations and the work of the Action Groups.  These relate to:

  • Improvement in the physical appearance of the village centre
  • The provision of a central square or green
  • Adequate car-parking
  • The maintenance of local shops
  • An enlarged library
  • Good emergency cover
  • Freedom from anti-social behaviour and petty crime
  • An enhanced and well publicised bus and train service
  • Priority to the safety of walkers, cyclists and horse riders on country lanes
  • Adequate provision of low cost housing
  • The quality and location of new development
  • Information and liaison on planning matters
  • Promoting a healthy, low key tourism industry based on the ecology and beauty of the area
  • Freedom from pollution
  • Maximising the use of and extending and improving existing sports and play facilities
  • Provision of high quality new sports and play facilities


Finally, three tables relate aims to actions, setting out  the short, medium and long term actions which would help achieve the Vision and Objectives. These Action Plans report on “work in progress”, especially in relation to major projects that require land, finance, time and commitment of many people. However many recommendations can bring more immediate results. The tables identify who needs to be involved in delivering these actions and when they should be completed. They may need to be changed and added to as events unfurl. The Parish Council will monitor them and take whatever action is necessary to secure progress.