Lakeland Leather, Ambleside, to build a cafe and factory outlet

AN ICONIC Lake District clothing brand has been given permission to diversify the use of its head office and warehouse to welcome visitors.

Lakeland Leather, in Ambleside, has the green light to proceed with plans to change the use of its warehouse to include a factory-style retail store and cafe, which will operate in conjunction with its current town center store .

The company said the offer would increase the number of visitors to the city during off-peak hours, especially foreign tourists.

A statement from Lakeland Leather said:

“The existing store would stock our latest lines at full price, while the outlet would stock end-of-line products at a discount.

“We believe the planned development would add to the vitality of the central commercial area due to its proximity.

“The Outlet is expected to attract additional visitors to the village – this would be particularly beneficial during the off season when visitor numbers naturally decline.

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“We’re sure adding a ‘wet weather’ destination would also be beneficial for rainy days during the Spring/Summer holiday season.

“We know the Lakeland brand is popular with overseas visitors, particularly the Chinese – over 20% of sales at our Bowness store during the summer months were to Chinese tourists before the pandemic.

“A Lakeland destination in Ambleside would help attract more affluent overseas tourists, which would benefit retailers in the central shopping area and the town as a whole.

Diversification would see the addition of windows, creating a ‘livelier space’, a balcony on the first floor, which would be used by the cafe, with a visitor centre, outlet store and exhibition space also planned on the first stage.

The ground floor and the rest of the first floor would remain warehouses.

The Lakeland Leather statement said: “We are looking to diversify the use of the site to offset the cost of operating the premises, allowing the business to retain its traditional base in the Lake District.

“It means we can maintain and strengthen our role as one of the city’s largest employers.

“As a company, we see the opportunity to offer a different type of retail and leisure experience to visitors.”

Luz W. German