Work is ongoing to ensure the masterplan for a new 10,000-home garden village south of Carlisle satisfies the local need for housing.

Carlisle City Council’s economic growth scrutiny panel was updated yesterday by Jane Meek, the council’s corporate director of economic development, on the project to pull together the final preferred option for the St Cuthbert’s Garden Village development.

At a virtual meeting of the panel, Ms Meek said that work on the plans was at a “key point”.

Jillian Hale, the council’s principal planning officer, revealed the aim was to provide a more diverse range of housing types than other similar developments around the country.

Housing for families, elderly and low-income people is expected with a mixture of private rented sector, self- and custom-build homes.

“We have done immense amounts of public consultation on this, especially face to face in village halls, vacant shop units, the racecourse, city markets and a lot of work with the parish councils doing workshops with them,” she added.

“Something that comes up every time is that people are really quite critical of what they see elsewhere in Carlisle.

“That’s something that is going to be a real key focus of the masterplan work, looking at how you can create distinct communities with quite a strong local identity.”

Councillor Jack Paton asked whether housing associations had expressed an interest in developing affordable properties for rent in the village and if the council could also look to get involved.

Ms Meek confirmed that the council itself would not be developing homes on the site but said there had been “a lot of interest” from housing associations.

“They see it as an opportunity and they are looking at it,” she said.

“We’ve got regular meetings with them and we’re actually looking to ensure that we

support them and that they are looking to include it in their medium-term business plans.

“The industry is very capable ­– whether or not it’s the private sector or the housing associations – to deliver the type of housing that we expect to see.”

Ms Meek also addressed concerns about what the effect of coronavirus on the economy could mean for the project.

“We understand from Homes England that there will be another round of capacity funding coming this year,” she said.

“There was some nervousness as to whether or not that would be available with the current situation and the amount of funding that the government are giving out.”