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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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Residents to get say over changes to planning rules in Cockermouth

Voters across Cockermouth will have their say on whether planning rules should be relaxed in set streets after changes were made to a planned referendum.

Allerdale council last month agreed to hold a poll asking whether orders should be put in place to allow key planning changes in selected streets to be made without the need for planning applications.

Following a consultant’s recommendation, the council’s executive agreed that only residents of the affected streets should have a say in the referendum – the first of its kind in the country.

But after further advice from Government, the councillors have now agreed that all voters in the town’s two council wards should be included.

The change means the referendum will not go ahead on the original planned date of June 26.

A new date is due to be announced soon.

Cockermouth was chosen for the pilot neighbourhood development order project by the Government in 2011.

A “yes” vote next month could mean that key planning changes in the selected streets could be made without the need for council planning applications. It is aimed at making it quicker and easier to alter certain buildings.

Ground-floor commercial properties in Market Place could be turned into restaurants, cafes or bars, and tables and chairs could be put outside for customers without formal planning approval.

Houses on Horsman Street, Derwent Street, New Street, Fletcher Street and the south side of Crown Street would be able to install timber front doors and sliding sash windows.

It would also allow flats to be created above shops on Main Street and Station Street. Shop fronts there could be replaced in line with approved design guidelines.

Cockermouth is the first town in the country to apply for the neighbourhood development order.

The town council and Allerdale council have spent more than three years working on the project.

Cockermouth was selected to pilot legal changes contained in the Localism Act.

Allerdale council will run the poll, funded by the Government.

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