MAJOR construction firm Gleeson Homes was delighted when it was recently given permission from Carlisle City Council to build up to 100 new homes in the city.

The firm, however, has insisted that it would only build 80 homes on the site of Deer Park

However, angry residents say they have been left feeling angry and cheated as they claim the council did not make local people fully aware of the approval.

The land at Deer Park is very popular and families use it daily, not only to walk dogs but to teach children about nature.

One couple who are in their 80s, Pat and John Duncan said: “We have lived in Carlisle since 1968. We moved from Stockport, Cheshire when John worked for British Rail and got the job of Maintenance Foreman at the new Kingmoor Traction and Maintenance Depot.

“We bought our home on Kingmoor Road and lived there for 19 years. Our four children grew up in that house.

“They were able to enjoy the local amenities: two fields opposite the house and Kingmoor Woods."

John was able to use the permissive footpath to cross Deer Park field to get to work.

His first job at the TMD was to oversee the closure of Kingmoor Engine Shed which is now Kingmoor Sidings Nature Reserve.

“We moved to Riverbank Court in 1987 and a few years later.

“In 2007 John found out how the permissive path on Deer Park could be made into a Public Footpath and achieved this in 2008.

“It is a registered public right of way, FP 9/10397.

"People use it to exit or access the Nature Reserve or walk around it.

“Given the field’s history and its proximity to the existing nature reserve and the fact that a housing estate adjoins the field and another is being built on land beyond the Recycling and Waste Disposal site we feel very strongly that it should be left as a haven for the wild life that it supports, the wild flower meadow, the magnificent trees that would struggle to survive surrounded by houses, drains, concrete etc.

“We question the need for these houses because so many houses are now being built in and around Carlisle.

“The proposed garden village at Durdar is for 10,000 houses. Is there going to be boom in the jobs’ market? I doubt it.

“Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for nature and access to green spaces has never been more necessary.

"In the cold world of commerce, developers only know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

"As the Joni Mitchell song goes ‘They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot!’”

The popular spot is well used by Beverley Branch and her family.

She said: “We live in Etterby Park and we use Deer Park a lot with our child and his dog. It is regularly used by children to learn about nature and play in a safe environment. Deer Park offers the biodiversity of Kingmoor Sidings to use the park for grazing, the entrance to Deer Park in a tree is a home to Honey Bees that have been there for quite a lot of years. The park has been well used by children and adults even more so with Covid-19 around.

“More people are using the park for exercise.

“The field has a large amount of wild blackberry bushes which provides a food source for birds.

“I really oppose this plan to build houses on this beautiful area and would have great concern if this goes ahead due to the increase in traffic to the area on a busy rat run from the bypass that sees cars speeding on Kingmoor Road and the extra noise, light and environmental pollution that would take place because of this.”

Worried about what the future will hold for the area, resident Susan Scott said: “I live directly opposite Deer Park field and I am extremely concerned about the new build of 86 houses.

“I have lived here for 17 years and have seen lovely sights of the local deer residents.

"I’ve watched them from my bedroom window as they hide in the trees as fellow dog walkers pass by and as they pass, they then carry on eating the foliage.

“I even saw two of them on the road at 5am just at the entrance of Deer Park, they soon rushed back in as they saw me.

“Deer Park has always been used by locals and ramblers but since the Covid-19 outbreak this area has been used a lot more by families and the community getting their daily exercise, I have seen a change in people’s prospective in life, people getting more exercise, enjoying nature at its best as opposed to flocking to the shops.

“It would be a shame to lose this natural habitat to more bricks and mortar.

“I’m extremely worried about the increase of traffic these new builds will create.

“Gleesons had a road traffic report done to support its application, the recording device was on the lamppost at the bottom of my drive, the data that was reported and taken was on a day when the bridge to the bypass was blocked by water and it had been all over social media and the news on the morning to divert from this area so the data taken was not a true reflection of the traffic in this area.

"The road is a very fast road as it is and we have seen two accidents on this road in the last six months.

"Since the bypass was created, the traffic has increased due to people using it as a quick route but to add another 86 homes in the area with a possibility of two cars per home totalling at least 172 cars, this would create a tremendous amount of congestion as they go to and from home.

“This week I have had my wing mirror knocked off my parked car, no one had stopped and reported it.”

Concerned for the safety of children and potential new residents, Natalie Godley said: “As a resident of Kingmoor Road I am objecting to the development of housing on Deer Park field.

“It is not just a field; it is home to wildlife, protected trees and an area that as a family we use and part of the nature reserve.

"I’m disappointed that I was not aware of the development until developers had acquired the land.

“The developer has pitched the land to offer low cost housing.

"One of the other residents has looked at the plans and it shows only 13 of the 86 proposed are actually low cost two bed houses.

“It will destroy the nature reserve and increase traffic on a road that is already very busy fast and has a history of road traffic incidents. “There is no safe place to cross as an adult never mind the increased number of school children that the development will bring."

"I urge councillors to visit the area before making a decision so they can appreciate the community asset that once taken away will never be able to be given back.”