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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Objectors delay controversial Cumbrian planning decision

A decision on controversial plans for the site of a former Wetheral farmhouse have been delayed by an eleventh-hour objection from a village campaign group.

Skelton House photo
The Skelton House site

The Save Wetheral Village Group made its submission the night before members of Carlisle City Council’s Development Control Committee were due to meet to discuss the plan

The main objections that the group raise is that the development would be substantially larger than the one already permitted.

Citadel Estates Ltd had previously been granted permission to build 15 flats to replace the former Skelton House, in Pleasant View, despite organised opposition from local residents.

The developers had applied to vary one of the conditions relating to the proposed development.

The site is empty following the demolition of Skelton House – together with a two-storey barn, detached stables and two polytunnels – which was formerly a commercial plant nursery.

Planning permission and conservation area consent were granted in 2012 and 2011 respectively for the demolition of the buildings together with the redevelopment of the site to provide a three-storey building.

It had been recommended that the requested variation be approved but members of Carlisle City Council’s Development Control Committee have queried the report from planning officers.

Members were told that a number of letters of objection had been received including the letter of objection from the Save Wetheral Village Group.

The group’s letter alleged a number of serious errors in the case officer’s report for the application.

The errors included:

  • The building’s footprint actually 175 square metres larger than stated in the report;
  • And the floor area of the existing barn was irrelevant since it had been demolished without planning permission – but if it had been it would have added an extra 100 sqaure metres to the development.

According to their letter, campaigners said: “The council cannot accept a development which has grown in size by almost a third as a minor material amendment.

“If the developer wishes to substitute this alternative scheme, he should be required to submit a new full planning application.”

A number of Wetheral residents had requested the opportunity to speak against the proposal but councillor Barry Earp requested that the decision be deferred while the facts presented in the report were double checked.

Councillor Willie Whalen added: “An 11th hour submission document to us puts us in a difficult position.”

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