Soth Lakeland has been called the North’s new “economic hotspot”.

It follows an annual report by South Lakeland District Council looking back at 2018-19.

In that time the area’s gross value added, which is the value of goods and services produced, was found to be the highest in the whole of Cumbria.

South Lakeland’s GVA was £2.4 billion a year while in 2017-18, the area also saw the highest number of new business start-ups in the county.

South Lakeland also has the highest percentage of residents in employment. The figure for people working full or part-time is 88 per cent.

In addition, the figures show that South Lakeland, which includes places like Windermere and Ambleside, had 18.3 million visitors.

They brought in £1.2 billion to the local economy, according to the report.

However, more than 70 per cent of businesses locally would prefer bigger premises, a council survey found.

Of nearly 200 which took part, 41 per cent would consider expanding their enterprises, while 30 per cent would look to move to a larger site.

The results have shone a spotlight on the demand for business premises with  offices and retail units said to be needed.

A total of 12 per cent of businesses said they might acquire new premises in the future.

A survey also found that 20 per cent of South Lakes-based businesses are “very confident” of the next 12 months of trading.

Fifty four per cent are “fairly confident” and 17 per cent said they expected to increase staffing levels over the next 12 months.

Recently, the council has joined up with partners at Barrow Borough Council and Lancaster City Council to increase investment in the Bay economy.

It said: “The initiative will promote The Bay as a great place to live, work and explore and identify channels of Government investment to improve economic prosperity.

“The initiative was praised by Northern Powerhouse and local growth minister Jake Berry MP, as exciting and positive and is keen to see the plans taken forward.”

“A formal launch event for business and Government leaders will be held in June 2019.

"This is the North’s new economic hotspot. Employment opportunities are increasing, visitor numbers are on the rise and the Bay offers a quality of life which is unsurpassed in the UK.”

Recently, SLDC chief executive Lawrence Conway told councillors that the council’s plan for the area is to provide the homes and careers to convince young people to stay in the area.