ANOTHER MAJOR housing development has been proposed in north Carlisle - right next to an estate already under construction.

Permission to build 200 homes is being sought from Carlisle City Council by Sheffield-based developer Gleeson Homes.

If approved, the estate will be built just off Kingstown Road on the northern edge of Carlisle, alongside the Story Homes development currently underway.

Carlisle-based Story Homes have the city council's permission to build 172 homes on at the site, called Aspen Grange.

Should the council give Gleeson Homes the go-ahead, the combined number of new homes built by the two companies could be close to 400.

Councillor James Bainbridge, whose Stanwix Rural ward takes in the land between Kingstown Road and the nearby village of Houghton, said he had expected developers would be interested in the land.

“I’m not surprised that this application has been put forward, it was an area identified in the Local Plan for development, and the recent house building of Greymoorhill by Story Homes will result in this site now being accessible for road access," said the Conservative Party councillor.

"However this represents yet another application that will generate demand for schools, healthcare and other community services," Mr Bainbridge added.

"In my time on the council all that ever happens is classrooms get extended and we are getting to the point that there is less and less space to do this.

"Add to this you have the never ending hiatus that Story Homes seem to have taken at Crindledyke which seems to be preventing them from advancing to a stage where they start building a school there.

"My view is that without a serious look at primary schooling in this area you are just building houses for the sake of it without any thought about the communities you’re building them in.”

Story Homes confirmed to the News & Star that there was no immediate prospect of the company building a school at the Crindledyke site.

"No further construction activity can take place at Crindledyke until detailed planning permission is secured for the next phase," a spokeswoman for the company said.

Government statistics show that the nearby Kingmoor Junior School is four pupils over its capacity of 300, and Kingmoor Nursery and Infant School is 18 pupils over its capacity of 251.

Both schools have expanded significantly in recent years.

Stanwix School, also in north Carlisle is just one pupil under its capacity of 420 pupils.

Houghton School however is 51 pupils under its 210 pupil capacity.

Gleeson Homes addressed this issue in their planning application, saying: "pre-application communication with Cumbria County Council has indicated financial contributions will be required by way of section 106 agreement for both primary and secondary school education in the local area due to limited capacity in nearby schools."

A spokesman for Cumbria County Council, the body responsible for school administration the city, said: “should the cumulative effect of housing development in the area mean that there are likely to be insufficient school places, then developers, through the local planning authority, will be asked to make a payment towards provision of the additional places required. This is a standard approach for Local Authorities across England.”

Carlisle MP John Stevenson welcomed the planned development.

"This demonstrates increasing confidence in Carlisle as a city for developers," he said.

"I think that's a real positive and it's a credit to our city that we're now seen as an attractive destination for investment.

Mr Stevenson added that it was important for local authorities to carefully assess the impact of such a large development on the surrounding area.

"The councils have to make sure that they do have the appropriate infrastructure to support this development," he said.

"That may well include a review of the school places, particularly at the primary school level, north of the river."

The planning application from Gleeson Homes estimated construction would take eight years to complete.

It also estimated the development will directly create or sustain 300 full time jobs, and an additional 540 jobs indirectly. They added that the company gives priority to local job applicants when staffing its construction projects.

The developer explained in the application that it plans to build a mixture of two, three and four bedroom privately-owned homes marketed at people on low incomes.

"Gleeson focuses solely on building low cost homes for people on low incomes in areas of industrial decline, economic and social deprivation," the company wrote.

"We build a range of affordable new homes for sale to people who would otherwise be unable to afford a new home, thereby helping them onto the property ladder."

The company added that they are eager to promote home ownership.

"Gleeson refuse to sell to private landlords and we will ensure that there is a restrictive covenant on the properties sold in order to prevent properties on the site being let."