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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Fourth time lucky for Cumbrian housing scheme

Plans for 24 new homes in Cockermouth are one step away from getting the go-ahead – despite being refused three times previously.

Allerdale Council’s development panel yesterday voted in favour of the plans, which involve relocating the car park and tennis courts next to Cockermouth RUFC on Lorton Road.

But developer Rockford Holdings Ltd will have to sign a legal agreement to secure the future of a play park and other open space within three weeks, in order for formal planning permission to be granted. The development, which would feature only open-market housing, had been thrown out three times before.

Previously, the council and planning inspectors had refused planning permission because the developer had not included any affordable housing or proved its assertion that the project would not be financially viable with it included.

On the last occasion a planning inspector accepted that he had enough evidence to show that the project was only viable without affordable housing.

He turned down the appeal because the legal agreement had not been signed.

Fourteen letters of objection were sent to the council raising concerns about issues including lack of affordable housing, traffic, appearance and nature conservation.

Cockermouth town council had also opposed the plans because of the lack of affordable housing.

Planning manager Kevin Kerrigan told members that the inspector had already accepted the principle of the development without it [affordable housing].

Officers recommended approving the application subject to the legal agreement being completed and signed within 21 days.

Councillor Joe Holliday proposed the recommendation, seconded by Councillor Peter Bales.

The vote was four in favour and three against, with three abstentions.

If the legal agreement is not signed by July 22 planning permission will be refused.

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