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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Developer puts in fourth bid for west Cumbria homes

Plans for a housing development in Cockermouth have been submitted for the fourth time.

Cockermouth Rockford homes graphic
An artist’s impression of the 24-home estate

London-based company Rockford Holdings Ltd first revealed its scheme to develop the land – currently used as a car park and tennis courts – at Lorton Road in 2009.

The developer pledged to upgrade the existing sports facilities along with building the housing estate, but Allerdale Council has thrown out the plans three times.

The third application last July was recommended for approval by officers but was refused by the council’s development panel. The council said the estate must include affordable housing, but Rockford Holdings said this would not be financially viable and appealed against the decision.

The appeal was dismissed because a legal agreement between landowners, for maintenance of drainage and public areas, was not signed.

However, the inspector said the council’s reason for refusal – due to the lack of affordable housing – was unreasonable.

Rockford has since gone back to the drawing board and dealt with the issues raised by the inspector and has resubmitted its plans.

In the application, Rockford’s agent Darren Ward said: “The previous appealed scheme for 29 houses was dismissed but confirmed housing was acceptable on this site.

“Development of this site will deliver 24 new houses of varied size and go some way in meeting local recognised demand.”

The current tennis courts and car park would be rebuilt and relocated on the site.

The existing tennis courts are “cracking up” said the chairman of the town’s tennis club, Chris Lockyer.

He added: “This is due to the fact that they are nearing the end of their lifespan and are in serious need of attention to keep them at an acceptable standard to play any sport on whether that be tennis, tag rugby or football.”

Consultation into the latest planning application opened on Tuesday and will come to an end on May 23.

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