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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Workington community garden given go-ahead by planners

A controversial plan for a community garden behind homes on Workington’s Westfield estate has been given the go-ahead.

Binky Armstrong photo
Coun Binky Armstrong

Derwent & Solway Housing Association wanted permission to make the garden on disused land at Garth Road to promote local food growing.

The social landlord had already been given permission for two similar gardens at Salterbeck and Frostoms by Allerdale council planning officers.

The Garth Road plan was sent to the council’s development panel because of public opposition.

Twenty-one residents of Garth Road and Ghyll Road signed a petition objecting and seven letters were received against it.

The letters raised concerns about the proximity of the site to gardens and the potential for overlooking, loss of privacy, anti-social behaviour, crime, parking congestion, vermin, child safety and contaminated land.

Councillors visited the site before the meeting to help them understand neighbours’ concerns.

Steve Long, planning officer, said: “We see this as a positive reuse of what was a redundant piece of land.

“We don’t think it will result in any significant loss of amenity to surrounding properties.”

Martin Wood said residents could be concerned that people using the garden may be able to see into their homes. Mr Long said a condition could be added to planning consent requiring Derwent & Solway to put in a fence or other screening.

Jim Lister was concerned that people visiting the gardens might park in Garth Road, causing congestion.

But Mr Long said it was hoped that suitable storage would be provided on site so people did not need to bring gardening equipment by car.

Binky Armstrong said: “This has been open to the public since these houses were built.

“The community project will be an absolutely marvellous, brilliant project.”

Margaret Jackson proposed that the plans be approved subject to the privacy concerns being addressed in consultation with neighbours.

Joe Holliday added that an access path would need to be maintained around the outside of the site because residents’ gardens had gates which opened onto it.

Mr Armstrong seconded the proposal and 10 members voted in favour of the plans, with three against.

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