A CARLISLE sawmill has submitted a planning request to Cumberland Council.

It relates to whether an environmental impact assessment is needed for a site on land south of BSW Timber Group, Carlisle Sawmills, Cargo.

The business is hoping to expand the operation with a commercial warehousing development and a new railway head at the site.

According to the letter the business was established in 1848 and is one of the largest sawmilling companies in the UK.

It adds: "It is a family-owned business (purchased by ‘Binderholz’ in 2021) that has four main operating divisions: forestry, sawmilling, timber manufacturing and energy.

"It has occupied and operated from the Cargo site for over 30 years, and during this time the manufacturing processes and the site development has evolved.

"Currently the main operations include the conversion of round wood into sawn timber and co-products (chips, sawdust bark and shavings).

"Additional value is added to the sawn timber by further processing such as killing, grading and crosscutting."

The business currently employs more than 1,100 people over 11 sites with around 160 employed at the Cargo site.

The site lies north west of Carlisle city centre and on the main road running between the roundabout junction of the A686 and Cargo and Rockcliffe villages.

The letter states: "The existing sawmill site is situated approximately 500m to the east of the settlement of Cargo.

"The existing BSW site covers approximately 15 hectares of land and is an irregular shape bound to the east and north by railway track, sidings and storage areas. To the west and south the site is bound by the C1016 and agricultural land."

According to the letter Tetra Tech Planning received positive pre-application engagement with Carlisle City Council planning officers in 2019 for the site immediately south of the existing sawmill operations when BSW had proposed an expanded use of the site associated with the BSW operations.

It states: "BSW wishes to expand their current sawmill operations into the adjoining fields (Sites 1 and 2) to the south east of the existing sawmill operations at Cargo to create a new railhead and an extension to the
existing sawmill operation as described above.

"The railhead would be split into two operational areas as a consequence of the two parcels of land, which are separated by ‘The Wicket’, and to cater for two distinct activities."

There will be an outline planning application for the development of:

  • a new railhead;
  • up to 10,200 square metres of warehouse and auxiliary office space;
  • up to 10,000 square metres of open storage area;
  • up to 2,200 square metres of office and supporting infrastructure space;
  • and internal roads and infrastructure.

The letter states: "The company is committed to sustainable production operations and plants three trees for every tree harvested for production.

"The site operates a 75-hour week and annual input is 330,000 cubic metres of roundwood and it produces 178,000 cubic metres of sawn timber.

"The following sets out a planning case in favour of the proposed development of Sites 1 and 2 for the proposed uses outlined above, together supporting evidence."

The matter is currently being considered by planning officers at Cumberland Council.