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Thursday, 21 August 2014

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Cockermouth play centre may get demolition reprieve

A children's play centre and youth cafe could be handed a reprieve despite plans being approved for its demolition by Allerdale council planners.

Cockermouth play centre photo
Sandra Robinson and Peggy Bradshaw from Jordan's Jungle

Mitchells Auction Company Ltd wanted permission to demolish the former warehouse housing Jordan’s Jungle, on Lorton Street, in Cockermouth, along with the warehouse next door to make way for two houses.

The plans were recommended for approval by Allerdale council planning officers, and 12 councillors voted to approve the application, with two against and one abstention, at the council’s development panel.

But a letter was read out at the meeting from Peggy Bradshaw, owner of Jordan’s Jungle, which said that she had entered into negotiations with Mitchells and that a number of potential solutions were on the horizon.

She added that she had never blamed Mitchells for the situation.

Councillors visited the site before the meeting to see if the youth cafe work done there should entitle it to protection.

More than 1,000 people wrote letters of objection or signed petitions against the plan, and Cumbria Police said the youth cafe – run on Monday and Friday nights – resulted in a fall in anti-social behaviour.

Kevin Kerrigan, head of development services at Allerdale council, said the plans were acceptable, but the only issue was the extent to which Jordan’s Jungle represented a unique community facility in Cockermouth and could, therefore, be entitled to planning policy protection.

He added, that while he was not disputing the play centre’s importance in Cockermouth, he felt that there was a range of other facilities that cater for young people in the town.

Councillor Bill Finlay said: “My feeling is that we can regard Jordan’s Jungle as a community facility but is it unique?

“I am sure the people of Jordan’s Jungle think it’s unique but it’s clear that there are other alternatives.”

Councillor Margaret Jackson added: “I don’t see any planning grounds to refuse it. I am pleased to hear that they are working with Mitchells and I hope they get something sorted out.”

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