Cumbria’s most controversial planning applications in 2021

Many major developments, from mines to housing estates, have polarised the Cumbrian public this year. Here is a round-up of the most controversial plans submitted by developers for the county in 2021.

1. Woodhouse Colliery.
The single most controversial planning application discussed this year has been West Cumbria Mining’s plan for a metallurgical coal mine off the coast of Whitehaven. The developer, and ardent supporters like Copeland MP Trudy Harrison and mayor Mike Starkie, believe that metallurgical coal will always be needed for the production of steel.

Steel demand remains high at home and abroad. Supporters believe it is therefore kinder to the environment extract coal in Britain, to use in the production of British steel, rather than shipping it in from abroad.

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But opposition groups like Friends of the Earth and South Lakes Action on Climate Change say building new coal mines does not fit in with the UK Government’s net zero carbon agenda.

A contentious public inquiry was held to discuss the coal mine in September after the plans were called-in. The current Secretary of State is set to make the final decision, based on evidence given at the inquiry, in the new year.

2. Story Homes’ 112 dwellings in Scotby
Both the parish council and residents of Scotby have opposed Story Homes’ plan for 112 homes in their village. A number of concerns have led to their objection including traffic fears, the impact on local wildlife and a lack of nearby school places.

But the developer has said that “this site was allocated by Carlisle City Council for residential development in the adopted local plan in November 2016 and will help to meet local housing needs”.

“The proposed development is supported by a Transport Assessment, the scope of which has been agreed through consultation with the Highway Authority and Highways England, to ensure the proposed access arrangements are fully robust.”

An ecological assessment has been carried out in the formation of the plans and Story will make “significant financial contributions” to education provision in the area.

3. Citadel Homes’ 39 homes on land off Richardson Street, Carlisle
A planning application to build 39 dwellings in Denton Holme was approved by Carlisle City Council’s planning panel earlier this month. But concerns were raised about the quality of the housing, which is set to be built on the former Kangol factory site.

Councillors from either side of the chamber voiced concerns that the homes would be “cramped” and “not future-proof.”

But Citadel Homes said that they “do not understand” the comments as: “All of the properties provide two double bedrooms with fitted wardrobes, bathroom with showers, dining kitchens, a lounge leading to a private garden and private parking.”

4. Lidl’s plans for a new store on Warwick Road, Carlisle.
A fraught meeting of Carlisle City Council’s planning panel in October saw the approval of a new Lidl store on land off Warwick Road in Carlisle.

Although it was given the green light, a number of objections were received for the new discount food store.

Carlisle Flood Action Group said the development, which will be built on a flood plain, could exacerbate flooding in winter months. And a resident who lives nearby, Mr Nash, said that the new store would increase traffic on an already busy stretch of road.

But the developer pointed out that steps have been taken to mitigate the new store’s impact on surroundings.

5. Slurry lagoon at Beech House in Hayton
The Dixon family’s plans for a slurry lagoon at their farm in Hayton caused controversy at a September meeting of Allerdale Council’s planning panel.

Dairy farms store slurry in either a tank or lagoon before it is applied as fertiliser. Residents opposed the Dixon family’s plan to replace their out of date tank with a slurry lagoon due as they believe it would lead to excess odour from the farm.

But Environmental Health and the planning panel were satisfied that Mr Dixon had put necessary plans in place to prevent this.

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