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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Ban on developing derelict buildings in Cumbria could be lifted

A ban on developing remote, derelict buildings into luxury homes could be lifted after concerns were raised about the potential loss of historic sites to decay.

A group of Eden councillors is looking at what should be done with rundown buildings in remote areas.

The council’s current policy is not to allow them to be renovated as permanent homes, but, in some cases, the old, disused buildings – including churches, chapels and farm buildings – can be renovated to be used for affordable housing or holiday lets.

The council is considering changing its policy because they believe the cost of renovation for holiday lets or affordable homes can put people off investing and there are concerns that buildings of “potential historic value” are being lost.

Arguments against change, however, include concerns that having permanent homes in open countryside or in hamlets could spoil the beauty of the area and put too much pressure on services such as refuse collections, school buses and ambulances.

Eden Council has set up a review group which will look into whether or not the current policy should be changed. They are due to discuss the issue on Friday.

Councillor Michael Slee, chairman of the review group, said: “We need to decide if we should allow old buildings to decay and become a feature of the countryside, representing a bygone age, or take the action necessary which will enable them to become inhabited.

“That might be on either a permanent or temporary basis, so that the occupants can contribute to the communities in which these old building are located.”

The review group is also considering the change of use of old buildings such as converting them into shops or homes.

Councillors are keen to hear residents’ views which should be emailed to scrutiny@eden.gov.uk before Friday.

A spokesman said all comments would be taken into account when the review group makes its recommendations.

IDuncan@cngroup.co.uk

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