Allerdale Borough Council has welcomed a ruling by the Planning Inspectorate to uphold a decision made by its Development Panel regarding a proposal to build a B&M store in Low Road, Cockermouth.
On July 24, 2018, elected members sitting on the Council’s Development Panel voted to refuse the application submitted by Opus Land North (Cockermouth) Ltd for the erection of a retail unit with external garden centre, including access, parking, landscaping and associated works. The reasons for refusal cited by the panel were the loss of trees on the application site and the loss of employment land.
This decision was appealed by the applicants and a hearing organised by the Planning Inspectorate was held on September 24, 2019 with representatives from the Council, the applicants and members of the public making submissions to an inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
The inspector, Graeme Robbie, has this week issued the decision notice stating that Opus Land North (Cockermouth) Ltd’s appeal has been dismissed and therefore the original decision to refuse permission for the application would be upheld.
In his conclusion, Mr Robbie said: “Whilst the public benefits associated with the proposal, as outlined above, would outweigh the less than substantial harm to the setting of the grade II listed Fitz and the setting of the Papcastle Conservation Area, they do not diminish the localised and harmful impact on the character and appearance of the otherwise verdant and pleasant approach to Cockermouth along Low Road. Thus, for the reasons set out, and having considered all other matters raised, I conclude that the appeal should be dismissed.”
Councillor Nicky Cockburn, chair of the Development Panel, said: “The panel welcomes the inspector’s verdict to uphold our original decision in refusing permission for this application. We are delighted the inspector has agreed with us that the appearance and gateway to Cockermouth is an extremely important to a lot of people.
“Decisions made by the panel are done so democratically and following debate between members, taking into account varying points of view.”