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Monday, 20 October 2014

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Firm makes fourth bid to build houses

Controversial plans for a housing development in Cockermouth are going before councillors for a fourth time.

Proposals to move tennis courts and car parking on land at Lorton Road are being recommended for approval this time – but only if a legal agreement can be reached by an agreed deadline.

Members of Allerdale council’s development control panel are being asked to give planning officers delegated powers to refuse the application from London-based company Rockford Holdings Ltd if the agreement is not signed in time.

The company first revealed its scheme to develop the land five years ago.

The developer pledged to upgrade the sports facilities beside Cockermouth RUFC 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 development panel.

The council said the estate must include affordable housing, but Rockford Holdings said this would not be financially viable and appealed 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 – the lack of affordable housing – was unreasonable.

Rockford went back to the drawing board and dealt with the issues raised by the inspector before resubmitting plans.

A new children’s play area must also be provided as part of the agreement.

A planning officer’s report being considered by councillors states: “It is clear from reviewing the most recent appeal decision for the site that the council’s reasons for refusal were not supported by the inspector.

“The only reason for dismissal of the appeal was the lack of a signed S106 Agreement by all parties. This is required to secure the maintenance of un-adopted areas, the provision of the children’s play area and surface water management.

“The Rugby Club themselves are required as a signatory. They have provided written confirmation of their ‘willingness’ to enter into the S106 Agreement.

“With all other parties in agreement it is considered that there is a reasonable prospect the S106 agreement can now be concluded. A draft document has been received by the council.”

Allerdale council’s development panel meets in Workington on July 1 to discuss the application.

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