MORE than 20,000 new homes will be built in north and west Cumbria over the next 15 years – almost 1,400 a year.

The housing boom will see new estates approved in Carlisle, Allerdale, Copeland and Eden as developers snap up sites.

Councils across these areas have set themselves targets in a bid to help address a national housing shortage.

In Carlisle alone there are currently 3,258 with planning permission that are yet to be developed. And new applications keep coming.

Each district has its own housing targets based on predicted need. In Carlisle it is 565 homes a year, Allerdale 304, Copeland 300 and Eden 200 – together equating to 1,369 every year across the area.

Calculated over 15 years, it will result in 20,535 new homes being built across the four districts as part of a construction boom.

Garry Legg, Carlisle City Council’s investment and policy manager, said some of the sites already having planning permission while others are allocated for development in the new local plan.

They include a large chunk of land to the west of Carlisle, between Morton and Peter Lane, and land near the Carlton Clinic in the south east.

Mr Legg said councils across the country are being encouraged to approve more homes, and there is a local need. However, he stressed it is not simply a case of letting developers build anywhere.

“There is huge growth potential in Cumbria, particularly on the back of nuclear new build, but also in Carlisle with the Enterprise Zone and airport expansion,” he explained.

But getting the balance right is key, both in terms of location and the type of properties.

Mr Legg has been instrumental in drawing up the new local plan, which is awaiting Government approval.

He said this document ensures that Carlisle grows in the right way, with the supporting infrastructure the city needs.

“Being plan-led is vital. Take schools, for example. If we were looking at 100 homes in one area we look at the yield, whether the school can take that, or if it needs to be expanded and how much it would cost.

“It’s exactly the same with the roads. We then make sure developers contribute to those things we see as necessary,” he said.

“National policy at the moment is very much about delivering housing to boost the supply of new homes. If it’s not plan-led councils can lose control. The public have also had a say in it.”

Mr Legg said both local and national developers are showing an interest in Carlisle, with the likes of Story Homes continuing to invest in the city and others such as Taylor Wimpey coming forward with schemes. 

In terms of the type of homes, he said the council negotiates to ensure there is affordable housing provision included within the new estates and that it meets the needs of the local community.

Copeland mayor Mike Starkie believes the housing boom is vital if the area is to have a viable economic future.

“I’ve got real ambitions for people moving in to the area, to make them permanent rather than just temporary,” he said.

“There is the nuclear industry but I want it to be broader than that. In the 1980s people came to work here and stayed. It was a boom period but then the work dried up.

“This time we need to capitalise on it. I want workers to bring their families and settle here.”

But to do that, he said that Copeland needs the right type of housing, and more of it.

“High earners like to live in the Lake District. We have to make sure that is in Copeland. As a district 60 per cent of our land mass is in the national park - we don’t make enough of that,” he said.

“One of the plus points is that Copeland as a borough has high average earnings yet house prices are low. That’s a pull. What we have to do is make sure there is more choice in the market.”

Mr Starkie said they hope to see more big investments like the Story Homes development at Kells.

“We are on the cusp of significant investment. We have got to make sure we get ourselves prepared to take full advantage,” he added.


Predicting a total of 9,606 new homes between 2013 and 2030

Annual average of 565

In March last year there were 35 sites with planning permission for more than 10 homes, together totalling 3,996 houses. Of these 3,258 were still to be developed. A further 36 sites were identified for potential development.


Predicting a total of 4,150 new homes over the next 15 years Annual target of 300

Across the district 150 hectares of land are identified for housing. Between April 2014 and April 2015 a total of 204 new homes were approved, and a further 132 secured permission between April 2015 and December 2015.


Predicting a total of 5,741 between 2011 and 2029 

Annual average of 304

There were three sites which secured permission for 15 homes or more last year, totalling 360 new houses. A further three sites were awaiting approval in January, together totalling more than 350 new homes.

  • EDEN 

Predicting a total of 3,600 new homes between 2014 and 2032 

Annual average of 200

Between April 2014 and March 2015, planning permission was granted for 10 estates with 15 or more homes, totalling 275 new houses. Since April last year a further 91 homes have been approved on two sites.