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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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West Cumbria housing estate plan ditched due to flooding fears

Fears over flooding have prompted councillors to turn down plans for a new housing estate in Seascale.

Stephen Haraldsen photo
Stephen Haraldsen

Members of Copeland’s planning panel had been recommended to give the go-ahead for a 33-home development on land off Links Crescent in the village.

But after hearing community concerns about flooding issues, councillors voted against the plans.

However, because the vote to refuse went against council officers’ advice, the application will go back before councillors next month for a second and final decision.

The plan by Persimmon Homes Lancashire was initially revealed 18 months ago for a 63-home development.

After more than 60 people objected to that scheme, the developers have returned with a scheme which has almost halved the number of homes.

However, 21 people have lodged their objections to the amended plans, as has Seascale parish council.

Parish councillors expressed concern over extra traffic, and the village’s health centre and school being unable to cope, and because the area is liable to flooding.

The meeting heard that Copeland Council had consulted with United Utilities and the Environment Agency, neither of whom raised any concern.

However, a report from Cumbria County Council’s flood management team had not been received by Copeland before the decision-making meeting.

Councillor John Jackson said: “It would be astute to find out all the answers before we decide.”

Councillor Stephen Haraldsen added: “I am uneasy about this proposal without having had a flood risk assessment.”

David Moore, speaking on behalf of Seascale parish council, had earlier told the meeting: “This application is premature, and should be refused – or at least deferred – until it can be determined if this is a suitable site for development in terms of the flooding issue.”

Seascale resident Clifford Jones also spoke, claiming that the site is too close to the restricted zone around Sellafield. He added further concerns about flooding, wildlife and the archaeological value of the area.

Speaking for Persimmon, Rachel Corr said: “This would be the development of a sustainable site, and other sites in Seascale are not deliverable.”

Meanwhile, outline planning permission has been granted for a 14-home development on agricultural land just off Gosforth Road in Seascale.

Seascale parish council also objected to this development, having expressed concern about traffic issues.

However Alan Freeman, speaking for the applicant, said that a traffic survey has been carried out and visibility for vehicles exiting the site onto Gosforth Road is “more than what is required on a 30mph road”.

No objections were raised by the highways authority, the Environment Agency nor United Utilities.

However, five letters of objection were sent to Copeland Council from residents concerned about traffic, flooding and the impact on views.

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