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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Carlisle flats builder admits breaching planning conditions

The company building student accommodation in Denton Holme, Carlisle, has admitted that it breached planning conditions limiting the hours of work.

Mike Carrigan  photo
Mike Carrigan

Border Construction completed the first phase of a £16 million redevelopment of the old Kangol factory in Norfolk Street earlier this month.

Nearby residents complained that work went on throughout the August bank holiday weekend despite planning conditions that prohibit work on Sundays or bank holidays.

Ian Wishart, Border Construction’s business development manager, said: “We did work on the Sunday and bank holiday [Monday] but it was primarily finishing work inside the accommodation blocks.

“We had to have them finished and ready by September 16. That was a date we had to deliver.”

Eleven neighbours have lodged an official complaint about the scheme.

They claim that the finished buildings, on the site of the old Kangol factory in Norfolk Street, are higher than they should be and too close to their homes.

Mike Carrigan, whose house in Richardson Street backs on to the site, is one of the signatories to the complaint addressed to Carlisle City Council chief executive Jason Gooding.

He said: “We want the council to take action against Border Construction.

“We need them to show us they are doing something about these breaches of working hours and not let Border get away with it.

“We all accept that a construction site of this size is bound to cause disruption but the scale of the disruption has been unbearable.”

The complaint calls on the council to measure the newly-constructed accommodation blocks, some of which are four storeys high.

Mr Carrigan said: “They are higher than stated in the plans and in some cases closer [to people’s homes].

“These surrounding houses now have serious privacy issues.”

The letter also asks for railings to be put on the perimeter wall to stop anyone sitting on in it and seeing straight into the rear windows of adjoining properties.

Mr Wishart denied that the new blocks were too tall or in the wrong place.

He said: “As far as we are concerned, we have built the development in full accordance with what was approved by the city council. The council, if they wish, can come and check it.”

A council spokeswoman confirmed that it had received the residents’ complaint.

She said: “We are looking into the concerns they have raised and will be responding soon.”

The scheme will eventually accommodate nearly 500 students from the University of Cumbria. The first phase accommodates 249 students, many of whom moved in just over a week ago. Mr Carrigan said there had already been complaints about noise, confirming fears voiced by neighbours when they objected to Border’s planning application.

Police were called at 11.40pm last Monday in response to a complaint from a resident of Norfolk Street about loud music.

A force spokeswoman said: “Officers contacted a security guard who had already dealt with the issue.”

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