CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 50 new homes in Whitehaven have been knocked back by the government for a second time.

An application for land to the south of Elizabeth Crescent, at Bay Vista, was re-submitted to Copeland Council in June 2019 after a failed government appeal.

The council's planning panel had refused the original application in July 2018 after more than 100 residents objected to the scheme.

An appeal was lodged by applicant Harras Park Estates to the Planning Inspectorate against the decision but was thrown out due to road safety fears.

News and Star: Graham Roberts is "highly delighted" that plans to build 50 homes on land at Bay Vista have been rejected after a second government appealGraham Roberts is "highly delighted" that plans to build 50 homes on land at Bay Vista have been rejected after a second government appeal

The inspector said it had not been demonstrated that the junction with Victoria Road would continue to operate safely, taking into account the traffic speeds and the restricted visibility at the junction.

The applicant lodged a second appeal with the Planning Inspectorate earlier this year, before a decision on the re-submitted scheme had been made by Copeland Council.

In the appeal statement, Harras Park Estates argued that "the single issue" of highway matters raised by the appeal inspector had been addressed and that the council had failed to reach a decision within the required timeframe.

The revised plans included a proposal to modify the junction to give increased visibility, by building out the kerb on both sides to enable the give way lines to be brought forward.

But the Planning Inspectorate has now rejected the second appeal, this time due to the risk of flooding.

The inspector said: "It has not been adequately demonstrated that the proposed development would not give rise to an unacceptable flood risk. This provides a clear reason to refuse the development proposed.

"Although I have found no harm in respect of highway safety, this would not outweigh the harm I have found with regard to the effect of the proposed development on flood risk."

Don Haslett, of the Bay Vista Residents Group, said: "We are pleased, on behalf of the residents of Bay Vista and Victoria Road that the inspector has seen fit to dismiss the appeal.

"However, we were disappointed that the applicant saw fit to bypass the democratic process (the planning panel) and go straight to appeal for non determination.

"This meant the residents were unable to present the case to the planning panel who we believe would have strongly rejected the application on several issues.

"We would like to take the opportunity to thank our ward councillor, Joe Ghayouba and county councillors Barbour, Roberts and Whiteside for their invaluable support."

Graham Roberts, who represents Bransty on Cumbria County Council, has opposed the scheme since it was first put forward.

He said: "I'm highly delighted because it's a most unsuitable development. We can't put people's houses at the nearby Bay Vista and back of Victoria Road at risk of flooding because of a housing development. The ground is unsuitable and whatever they do, they can't mitigate the flooding. That's what the inspector found. It's been a long haul but it's been sorted now. The wonderful residents group's support and tireless work have brought about this result."

Brian O'Kane, a Copeland and Whitehaven Town councillor, hit out at the developer for appealing to the government before a decision had been made by Copeland Council.

He said: "I think it's despicable that a developer will try and bypass the locality in the area and councillors to push their agenda forward. I think it's an absolute disgrace to do that. There's a democratic process."

Harras Park Estates was approached for comment.