Chapel Stile (South Lakeland District Council)



The village of Chapel Stile is in the administrative district of South Lakeland District Council in the heart of the Lake District National Park. Chapel Stile lies nine miles south of Ambleside along the A593 to Coniston off the B5343.

The village has a population of about 190 and 141 properties. (i)  The village is part of the Lakes Parish which in 1995 had a population of 5,109 and 2,614 properties. (ii)

Case study
The case study in Chapel Stile was on Howe Bank View, a development of two, two-bedroom houses and five three-bedroom houses owned by Mitre Housing Association.

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

  • 50% said they liked living in Chapel Stile because of the scenery and the peace and quiet.
  • 40% said the community was important to them.

2. Services available in the village

‘The school, shop and pub is what keeps us in touch with the residents.’

The services available include a grocery shop, 15 self-catering properties, a pub, a café, a primary school, a village hall and a church. The community is also part of a ‘valley settlement’ which has several community organisations and events, including a playgroup. The respondents were keen to mention the importance of the school and its close links to the community.

  • Most of the respondents used the village shop and saw it as an important service for the village for convenience items. The main shopping for the majority of residents takes place in supermarkets in the larger towns.
  • There is a post office in nearby Elterwater.

3. School

  • Chapel Stile has one playgroup.
  • Chapel Stile has a Church of England primary school for mixed pupils aged 5-11 years.

 ‘This is a good school.’
‘Very good links exist within the community.’

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

  • There are 38 on the school roll.
  • Average number of pupils per qualified teacher is 14.8.
  • Average class size is 17.
  • The quality of the teaching is good.
  • The curriculum is of a very good range and quality.
  • The provision for special needs is good.
  • Parental views are very positive and supportive.
  • The nearest secondary school is in Coniston (5 miles).
  • 80% of the residents from Howe Bank View have children.
  • 60% of the residents who responded from Howe Bank View commented on how important the school was to them and to the community.

4. Police and fire

  • The village does not have a specific named community officer; however in the area there are nine police officers who have various responsibilities for the village. Patrols are undertaken when possible. There is no mobile station and nearby Ambleside police station is no longer staffed.
  • The nearest fire stations are in Ambleside, four miles away, and Coniston, six. These are staffed part time.

5. Transport

The bus service provides six buses per day, and in winter five on Saturdays and four on Sundays. In the summer six buses run on Saturdays and five on Sundays to Ambleside.

  • An adult single fare is £2.25 to £4.15; children’s fares range from £1.76 - £2.95.
  • 90% of the respondents in Chapel Stile had one car or more.
  • The residents raised concerns about the limited public transport.
  • The nearest train station is Windermere.

6. Local employment

  • Tourism/service industry and retail.
  • Outdoor centres and activities.
  • Agriculture.
  • Self-employed, e.g. joiners and electricians.
  • Kirkstone quarries.

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.


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 supermarket.

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

Total £9.72 @ Bolton, £4.50 @ Asda, Kendal.

Current housing provision in Chapel Stile
1. Case study - Howe Bank View

  • Mitre Housing Association owns two two-bedroom houses and five three-bedroom houses.
  • They were completed in 2001.
  • South Lakeland District Council has 50% nomination rights.
  • Occupancy of the properties is restricted by a section 106 agreement.
  • Properties were first let in July 2001.
  • There are three households on the waiting list at present.
  • The three-bed houses are under council tax band D (£1,174.89).
  • The two-bed houses are under council tax band C (£1,044.35).
  • The rents are not restructured rents. Rent restructuring is currently being undertaken by the housing association.

Type of accommodation

Rent (per week)Service charge (per week)
3-bed houses£65.41Included
2-bed houses£62.34Included

2. Other RSL provision

  • South Lakeland District Council owns six properties at Walthwaite.
  • Mitre Housing Association owns another eight properties at The Glebe.
  • Two Castles Housing Association has six flats for the elderly at Meadowside.
  • This is a total of 27 social housing units.

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. Detached No data The Council Tax bands for Chapel Stile are as follows.

Council Band B£913.80
Council Band C£1,044.35
Council Band D£1,174.89

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

DetachedNo data
Semi-DetachedNo data
Average House Price£127,450

Key statistics

  • 27 of the properties in Chapel Stile are owned by registered social landlords; this equates to 19% of total housing stock in the village.
  • 12% of social landlord stock has been lost from social housing provision into the open market through Right to Buy. This figure includes social landlord stock where Right to Acquire does not apply
  • The 1991 Census records that 956 (37% of properties) in the Lakes Parish are non-permanent-residence homes. South Lakeland District Council records 26% of properties registered for 50% discount within the Lakes Parish.
  • Taking into account the 1991 Census, the ratio of affordable homes to non-permanent-residence homes is 1:2.

1. Case-study return rate
There was a 71% response rate from the case-study questionnaire showing:

2. Reasons for residents accepting a tenancy

  • 100% of the respondents had originated from or had strong family connections with the village and wanted to maintain family links.
  • Return to the area.
  • Start a new household.
  • 20% of respondents had moved from a neighbouring parish into a more secure tenancy but had close family and social connections in the village.

3. Employment information

  • 100% of the respondents were in employment.
  • 80% of the respondents’ total household income was over £200 per week.
  • 20% of the respondents’ total household income was between £150 and £200.
  • 100% of the respondents work within a ten-mile radius of Chapel Stile.

Case study planning details: ref no: (7/99/5208)
1. Housing need

A housing needs survey was undertaken in July 1998 by Cumbria Rural Housing Trust which highlighted a priority housing need for 14 local people. Respondents stated a high preference for shared ownership.

2. Timescale for permission
Application date: 24.05.99 Decision date: 01.09.99 Planning permission notice date: 31.05.99 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 one year.

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

4. Opposition and support to the scheme
The District Council and the Parish Council both supported the proposals.

Several issues relating to the requirements of the highways department caused objections on both sides: those wanting the proposed highways
works and those opposed to them.
The various other reasons for objection concerned the materials to be used and the design and layout of the development.

The overwhelming comment on the proposals was that of support, one extract being:

‘We approve of a development that brings young families into the village and so keeps the community viable.’

Importance and impact of affordable housing in Chapel Stile

‘The affordable housing is like a drop in the ocean.’

  • The primary school would have lost pupils to Ambleside if Howe Bank View had not been built.
  • It was important to the local residents that affordable housing remains specifically for the residents.
  • More housing is needed, especially for families.
  • The other local residents believe the development, and affordable housing, is an important part of Chapel Stile. Without housing of this sort available, Chapel Stile could become a dying community, since it is very popular with second-home owners who do not live in the properties all year round.
  • The development enabled family links to be maintained

‘Affordable housing is needed otherwise Chapel Stile will become a dying community.’

  • Local residents and service providers are concerned about the number of second-home owners and those retiring to the village, and more specifically that affordable housing provision will become scarce.
  • The shop also agreed that affordable housing is extremely necessary, not only for the shop but the community in general.
  • Both services believe that this type of housing is vital, due to the current state of house prices (which are out of reach of the residents), if the community is to remain sustainable.

Parish council views
Parish councillors agreed with the overall findings and summary of the research. There is clearly a vibrant community in Chapel Stile which involves both long-standing residents and newer arrivals who support a relatively wide range of services including the shop, school, village hall and pub.

Local affordable housing need is significant especially since there is no likelihood of house prices declining in the near future. Employment opportunities are scarce and many local people rely on employment in surrounding areas.


‘We need to keep the school and affordable housing going for Chapel Stile to continue being sustainable.’

Chapel Stile is an ‘idyllic rural village.’ It is in a stunning setting and is in commutable distance to larger towns, such as Windermere and Ambleside. As such it is very popular with second-home owners and those retiring to the area. However, as the local residents comment, this does not help to sustain local services such as the school. The community is changing: many local residents are having to move away because they cannot afford the high house prices as non-residents can, and the community is very much divided between the incomers and the local residents. The residents do not like this.

There are many issues surrounding Chapel Stile, its sustainability, the increase in second-home ownership and the decline in rural employment. In talking to the residents of Chapel Stile it was apparent that most residents would be prepared to travel a long way to work if it meant they could remain in the village and be near their family and friends.

Chapel Stile is a lovely village and it is predicted that it will continue to be sustainable but the community is in danger due to limited employment and the transport problems. Affordable housing provision also needs to be maintained. The research has proved this by showing the benefits of Howe Bank View for the village and the need for more affordable family houses.

i Lakes Parish Council
ii Cumbria County Council 1997 Local Profiles, - Office for National Statistics, Information and Intelligence 1997
iii Land Registry and