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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Planning row over garages on estate ‘too small’ for cars

Plans to extend a controversial housing estate have been stalled – by garages “too small” to fit cars into.

Foregill Park homes petition photo
Michael Bell, left, and Geoff Donaldson who lodged a petition against the plans

The proposals to increase the estate, at Forgehill Park, Workington, had already angered residents who were worried the flats would be rented out by a social housing provider.

Now, the proposal has been temporarily halted as planners want to visit the site following residents’ concerns about the size of the garages.

They told Allerdale Council’s development panel that the garages were too small for most cars to use and were smaller than the dimensions recommended by Cumbria Highways.

Scott Robertson told councillors he could just about fit one car into the garage but, once inside, couldn’t open the doors.

“I can say with reasonable confidence that nobody is using their garage for parking because they are not big enough,” he said.

Developers Persimmon Homes has completed more than 40 properties at Forgehill Park, off Moss Bay Road in Workington, as part of a scheme for 92 houses approved in 2011. Now it wants to increase the number to 107 including 18 two-bedroom flats.

People already living on the site said there was already a lack of suitable parking on the estate and the planned increase in the number of homes would make it worse.

They raised concerns that the number of parking spaces already approved on the site was below those required under county council guidelines and the garages had been counted as parking spaces, despite being smaller than guideline sizes.

They said the problem led to drivers parking on the narrow access road and on pavements, creating a road safety hazard.

Planning officers said nothing could be done about the existing planning permission, which was approved with agreement from Cumbria Highways, and it would be difficult to impose different requirements on the final phase of the scheme.

Joe Holliday said: “The experience of people who live in those houses shows that we got it wrong in the past. Can we not admit that we got it wrong and change it for the future?”

Cumbria Highways has raised no objections to the current plans. Councillors agreed to defer a decision on the plans so they could visit the site and see the parking situation for themselves.

Andrew Pepper, Persimmon Homes Lancashire planning and strategic manager, said: “The level and type of parking provision proposed for the re-planned section of Forgehill Park is exactly the same as that on the wider scheme, which was approved in 2011 and meets the requirements of Cumbria Highways.

“The dimensions of the garages were submitted and agreed previously, and were clearly laid out both in the original planning application and the plans specific to each property. We remain hopeful that planning will be approved when this application returns to committee next month.”

Mr Pepper told councillors that three of the houses included in the latest plans would be designated affordable housing. All the flats would be for sale on the open market.

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