Fears over the loss of a vital manufacturing site plus the potential for a collapsing mine shaft have all been raised in response to plans for a new West Cumbrian housing development.

Brigham planners MJN Associates have applied for outline planning permission to build 38 new houses on the site of the old Cumbria Metals Ltd land, at Risehow near Flimby.

However, Maryport town council is preparing to object on the grounds that industrial land should be preserved to bring business and employment to the area.

Maryport mayor Peter Kendall, who has asked to speak when Allerdale’s planners discuss the issue, reminded the council of a similar situation in the past.

“We fought against a housing development on the site of Cumbria Seafoods in Maryport," he recalled.

“The reasons put forward for building houses on the site was that it has been disused for years.

"The plans to build a residential area were turned down and a tyre company took over the building and is running a thriving business.”

Two councillors also expressed concerns about the number of shafts left from coal mining days.

Councillor Carol Tindall said: “ This is the site of a mine that closed in 1966.

"There will be a lot of tunnels and shafts under there and I would worry about that - and also about flooding from the nearby beck.”

Councillor Linda Radcliffe agreed, adding: “The councillors for Flimby have told us previously that Flimby would not cope with any more development because of inadequate drainage.”

While Councillor Stephen Ashworth added: “There are several issues, including the fact that it is a former coal site - the land could be contaminated - and it is subject to flooding.”

The development proposal is for eight two-bedroom houses, 16 with three bedrooms and four with four or more bedrooms.

There would be 10 affordable homes, all with two bedrooms.

The plan also makes provision for 78 car parking spaces for the 60 vehicles envisaged.

The planning application of Allerdale council’s website shows the applicant has asked Castles and Coates, the social landlords, if they would be interested in the affordable homes but have been told there is no need for those houses in Flimby now.