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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Story Homes plan should be thrown out, say Cockermouth town councillors

Controversial plans for a major Cockermouth housing development should be thrown out say town councillors.

They agreed last night at a packed meeting to recommend refusal of the proposed scheme on land at Strawberry How.

Their main concerns were infrastructure, the amount of affordable homes and impact on services.

There was standing room only in the town hall, where more than 50 people turned out to hear the council consider the application by Story Homes.

The company wants full planning permission for 96 homes and outline permission for up to 224 further units.

It wants to build a mixture of two to five-bedroom homes and has proposed a package of measures to promote site accessibility, including bus, pedestrianand cycle route improvements.

The Sustainable Cockermouth Group 2013 presented petitions to the council.

Jim Hully, of St Helen’s Street, said: “We are local people who wish to object to the proposed development and any other which would be detrimental to our gem town.”

He said Cockermouth had more than enough homes for the next 10 years and said Allerdale should encourage housing more suited to the needs of the elderly, such as one-bedroom properties, and provide more affordable homes for younger people.

He claimed a development such as Strawberry How could affect the catchment area of Cockermouth School, possibly preventing Broughton and Brigham children attending.

Jane Roy, of Greenbank Lane, spoke of the transport implications, particularly access to the A66 on the back road from Strawberry How which she felt would be heavily used by commuters.

Ramon Skillen, of Bellbrigg Lonning, voiced fears about the Tom Rudd Beck flooding and questioned whether waste water treatment had been properly considered.

Councillor Alan Kennon said the application did not contain enough detail about transport while councillor Isabel Burns recommended that the application be refused.

She said: “Everybody up there is aware of the transport issues.

“The need in Cockermouth is for people to have affordable homes, rented accommodation. I think it’s just overdevelopment of that site.”

Councillor Alan Smith agreed, adding that there was a lack of details about affordable homes.

He said a recent housing needs survey had identified the need for one-bedroom properties and he highlighted the infrastructure and transport issues.

He also spoke of the problem of potential flooding.

“The Tom Rudd river floods two or three times a year. It goes from a babbling brook to a torrent in less than three hours,” he added.

Councillor Christine Smith told the meeting: “Our own youngsters are finding it increasingly difficult to get in the housing market.

“I have asked time and time again for a definition of affordable housing, I’m still waiting for a reply.”

A final decision will be made by Allerdale’s council’s development panel.

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