Controversial plans for 11 new homes in Cleator Moor will be considered again today.
Copeland Borough Council’s planning panel will today meet to consider an outline planning application to build 11 new homes on land to the south east of Trumpet Road in Cleator Moor.
The proposals had first been put before panel members last month, after the council’s planning officers recommended that they be approved.
However, in a close four to three vote, the planning panel resolved to recommend that the application for outline planning permission be refused.
According to Copeland Borough Council’s constitution, if the authority’s planning panel recommends refusal against the recommendation of its planning officers, the determination is deferred until the next meeting, to allow for further advice to be prepared.
As such, the decision on whether or not to approve the plans will be considered today.
Copeland Borough Council’s planning officers are still recommending that the plans, submitted by Mr and Mrs Casson, be approved.
Should the outline plans be approved today, further, more detailed plans would have to be given the go-ahead before construction could take place.
The 11 proposed new homes have attracted a notable amount of opposition – 103 objections have been submitted to Copeland Borough Council over the plans.
Eighty-one of these comprised a standard letter signed by individuals or households.
The objections raised a number of concerns, including the fact that the proposed new homes would be built on undeveloped greenfield land, as opposed to previously built-on brownfield land – of which objectors state there is plenty in the area.
There also no need or demand for the proposed development, according to objectors, who have also argued there is a need for affordable housing rather than executive homes.
Objectors have also expressed concerns that the development will erode the green space between and result in the coalescence of Cleator Moor and Cleator.
It is also argued that the development will result in harm to the character of the local landscape, and would result in the loss of the locally important view of Dent Fell and the Ennerdale Valley from Trumpet Road.
Highways concerns have also been raised by objectors, who have argued that the A5086 is unsuited to further development.
The four Copeland planning panel members against the plans cited a number of concerns at last month’s meeting, when explaining their reasons for recommending the plans be refused.
They noted that the proposed development would be on a greenfield site, raised concerns over highway safety and whether there was a need for the development, and expressed a concern over the impact of the development on views from the homes on Trumpet Road, as well as over the visual impacts of the development.
Copeland Borough Council’s planning officers have sought to address these concerns in supplemental advice prepared in advance of today’s meeting.
The report prepared for the panel notes that Copeland’s Local Plan, which is the overarching strategic document guiding the growth of Copeland’s communities, seeks to ensure 50 per cent of new homes are developed on brownfield sites.
However, the plan acknowledges it is not possible to deliver all new homes on such land. As such, officers recommend that the greenfield nature of the site be given only limited weight when considering whether or not to approve the proposals.
It is also argued in the report that assessments of the housing market in Copeland conclude that there was a clear need for additional housing within the borough, and that a goal of the Local Plan is to create a more balanced mix of housing types in the borough.
The plans in question indicate that, if built, the development would likely be made up of family homes for market sale.
On the point of highways safety, the applicant has commissioned a transport consultant to prepare further information and evidence in response to concerns from planning panel members that there was insufficient information to demonstrate that the traffic generation from the development would not result in detrimental impacts on the capacity and safe functioning of the public highway.
The proposed visibility splays “meet the standards required for a 40mph road”, the officer report notes.
It has also been calculated by the applicant’s transport consultant that the 11 new homes are likely to generate six additional vehicle movements in both the AM and PM peak hours, on average one car every 10 minutes, which is advised would be a negligible impact upon the safe operation of the A5086, given the existing level of traffic flows.
Cumbria County Council’s Highways department has been consulted on the proposed development, and has confirmed there were no objections to the proposed development from a highways point of view subject to the imposition of planning conditions.
“Based upon the additional information commissioned and submitted by the applicant and the assessment completed by Cumbria County Council, the development would not result in an unacceptable impact on highway safety and the residual cumulative impacts of the development on the road network would not be severe,” the report adds.
“The development does not therefore meet the test for refusal of the Outline Planning Application on highway grounds in this case.”
On the topic of whether the development would impact on the views afforded to residents on Trumpet Road, Copeland planning officers advised that the impact of development on private views from a domestic dwelling is not a material planning consideration that can be given weight in the determination of a planning application.
There are some adverse impacts identified on the distinctive character of the landscape and the settlement character of Cleator Moor and Cleator, however it is advised that impacts would be localised, and as a result their magnitude would not be unacceptable.
“In overall terms”, the report concludes, Copeland’s planning officers have maintained their original recommendation that the outline proposals for 11 new homes on land to the south east of Trumpet Road be approved.