NEW houses being built across the Cumberland area must be accompanied by improvements to roads, schools and GP surgeries, a parliamentary candidate has said.

The comments from the Green Party's Gavin Hawkton follow the announcement this week of a major new analysis of the area's housing needs over the next 15 years.

The general needs housing study (2024-2039) will be conducted over the course of a year with consultancy firm Arc4, the council said.

It will inform Cumberland Council's housing strategy and the development of a new Cumberland Local Plan.

The overarching objective of the study is to identify future housing growth and local needs across Cumberland at both parish and ward level.

“The housing needs study will play a vital role in shaping the future development of our community, ensuring that housing provision meets the diverse needs of our residents,” said Cllr Emma Williamson, executive member for housing, upon the study's announcement.

“Examining housing needs in Cumberland is essential for creating inclusive, resilient, and sustainable communities where everyone has access to suitable housing and the opportunity to thrive.”

The study will aim to provide an analysis of the 'size, type, and tenure' of housing needed across Cumberland, considering various market segments.

But there are fears that the people who live in Cumberland could be left out of the conversation.

“It is encouraging that Cumberland Council is going to finally consider the wider impacts of housing developments across the county,” said Gavin Hawkton, the Green Party candidate for Carlisle.

News and Star: Gavin Hawkton Gavin Hawkton (Image: Supplied)“We’ve seen so many short-sighted projects in the last few years that have been allowed to prioritise profits over community well-being.

“It can’t be reiterated enough that new housing estates must come with improvements to our already strained infrastructure like roads, schools, and healthcare.

“On the doorstep, residents feel their concerns have been going ignored and I do worry that this study will lead to another top-down approach with only a token engagement with communities as a box ticking exercise.

"Residents do need a real say in how their areas are shaped, particularly in rural villages with unique characters and concerns”.

“A comprehensive housing needs study is an opportunity to reflect on not just our housing needs, but to so in a way that works towards net zero.

Carlisle and the surrounding areas have been in the midst of a housing boom in recent years and plans are in place for a series of major housing developments.

The largest of these planned developments is the St Cuthbert’s Garden Village which is set to bring more than 10,000 homes to the south of the city.

“The garden village is a priority for the government and that I think all efforts should be concentrated on developing and ensuring the success of the garden village,” said Carlisle MP, John Stevenson.

News and Star: John Stevenson MPJohn Stevenson MP (Image: Supplied)“The success of the garden village will help take pressure off other parts of the city and the surrounding villages.

“The council should just concentrate on getting the plans up and running with regards to the garden village.

READ MORE: Land in Carlisle to be converted into park for St Cuthbert's Garden Village plans

“We have a substantial social housing market, a reasonable rented market but I think we can develop further on the privately-owned market but also we've got to make sure that our existing housing stock is well maintained and that our new housing stock is of a quality that we would all want to see, and therefore I think that is the sort of the focus that the council should have.”

The study started in January and is expected to complete by November 2024.