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Monday, 20 October 2014

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Decision on spa complex near Carlisle delayed by planners

A couple who want to turn Rickerby Cottage, near Carlisle, into a spa will have to wait another month to get planning permission.

Rickerby Spa photo
Rachel Salmon and Daniel Ferguson

Rachel Salmon and Daniel Ferguson say their business, Rickerby Retreat, would create a dozen jobs.

Facilities proposed include a swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, gym and two treatment rooms with a cafe/restaurant upstairs.

Planning officers had recommended that councillors grant planning consent.

But when the development control committee met on Friday, councillors decided they wanted to visit the site before they take a vote.

Planning consultant Bob Taylor, representing objector Stewart Gray who lives at nearby Rickerby Lodge, planted a seed of doubt in councillors’ minds. He told them: “My client has substantial concerns about the scale of the proposal and its impact in terms of activity, noise and loss of privacy.

“This is a significant proposal in a predominantly-residential area of great sensitivity.”

The council received 15 objections – including one from the Friends of Rickerby Park – and 13 letters and emails supporting the proposal.

Objectors say the spa would bring more traffic and have an “adverse impact” on the Rickerby conservation area. Supporters say it would boost the tourist economy and provide a useful amenity for local people.

Rickerby Cottage already has a swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna that have been let as a private facility for more than 10 years.

If the spa scheme is approved next month, councillors are likely to impose conditions.

These would limit the cafe/restaurant to 48 diners, all inside the premises – the original proposal would have had up to 162, including 80 outside – and restricting its hours to 10am-10pm.

The leisure facilities will be restricted to a maximum of 12 people at a time, opening from 6.30am to 9pm.

And plans to have wooden camping pods in the grounds have been dropped.

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