Operators of a Bowness bar could face enforcement action after ‘flouting’ Lake District planning rules, a meeting heard.

A ‘mostly retrospective’ bid for a bar, kitchen, toilets and refreshments garden on Lake Road was unanimously turned down by the national park’s development control committee on Wednesday.

The site is in the grounds of St Andrews, an Italianate villa dating back 176 years, opposite the Old England Hotel on the A592 and facing the promenade.

The authority had allowed applicant Stephen Hargreaves, of Hargreaves Enterprises, to go ahead with the development but it was discovered the works deviated from the approved plans.

The bar had more than doubled, in size, the toilet block was built in a different place and was bigger, while a gateway to the garden was wider than agreed, park planners said.

Windermere Town Council and Windermere and Bowness Civic Society decried the intensive development and loss of more than 40 shrubs from the gardens.

Mr Hargreaves did not make any representations, but members were told the toilet block had to be moved to gain access to a sewer.

Documents from the agents added: “Following the commencement of works, a number of factors led to the design being amended and a different scheme being constructed on-site.”

National park planning officer Neil Henderson said once the issues were highlighted the applicant submitted two planning applications to try and remedy the breach.

Mr Henderson suggested the change of use permission be allowed but all nine committee members disagreed.

Member Hugh Branney said: “This is a really important viewpoint in probably the busiest part of the Lake District World Heritage Site. 

"If that’s what they see, I don’t think it meets our standards whatsoever. While it’s only my opinion, I think it’s quite a deliberate flouting of the planning permission.”

Member Mark Kidd said the toilet block was very prominent from the promenade.

 “Most people who come to the Lake District will be looking at that, even if they are just driving past,” said Mr Kidd. “The only way to prevent the harm from that toilet block is by building a very high wall which itself might be overbearing.”

Councillor Vicky Hughes said the toilet block was unsightly while panel member Paul Turner felt the disability access discriminated against people with poor mobility.

Andrew Smith, assistant head of development manager for the authority, confirmed that enforcement action would now be considered.