Letter to the Cockermouth Post Phase 2 of Strawberry How Development

Adam McNally, spokesperson for Story Homes about the proposed Phase 2 of the Strawberry How development in Cockermouth, used lots of positive words in his comments about the proposal recently.

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Unfortunately, they bear no relation to what the beleaguered residents of Cockermouth would have to live with if Phase 2 went ahead.

Neighbouring amenities, which are not coping at present, would be overwhelmed by the proposed number of new homes. The paltry sums offered by Story to sweeten the deal ignore the problems of traffic overload and increased flood risk in the town centre.

In building tightly-packed stereotype houses on green fields next to the old cemetery, on the edge of the National Park, the developer has taken no account at all of ‘local character’.

The economic community benefits ‘sustaining jobs for local people’ arising from the new homes admittedly would bring more Council Tax. However, people who might move to Cockermouth, wouldn’t be working here, unless there are new employers waiting to open businesses in town. The Local Plan shows that they would continue to drive every day to their current places of work: Sellafield, Workington, Carlisle and so on, with all the extra traffic and pollution that would bring.

Mr. McNally’s promise of ‘restoration and reinforcement of the local landscape’ would not have been necessary at all if Story Homes had not already devastated the natural environment on the site through current construction and contaminating Tom Rudd Beck. It would take years for the much-vaunted ‘blue corridor’ around the beck to go back to the thriving ecosystem it once was.

Allerdale planners, please ignore the developer’s weasel words and take account of the realities for Cockermouth in deciding this planning application.

PS It has been said widely that once outline planning consent for a development has be granted, as is the case for Strawberry How, there is no possibility of the development being turned down. That is not completely accurate. Planning permission can be revoked, particularly if new information is found.

Residents wishing to oppose Strawberry How Phase 2 could ask Allerdale to require a different layout, reduced density, improved drainage and more soft landscaping.

Hilary Tattershall, Cockermouth

MBE FOR LYNNE JONES! Continued from cover...

Lynne said, upon nomination: “It was a great surprise to hear about the award and I am delighted to accept it as recognition of the flood action group’s significant accomplishments.

“Our small team of volunteers have worked incredibly hard and campaigned tirelessly for flood prevention measures since the group was founded after significant flooding in 2005.

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“As a community, we have since suffered two further devastating floods and all three within an eleven-year period. What is astonishing is that there is still no money allocated to the Derwent Catchment Area for significant measures to reduce the flood risk to our communities.

“Receiving this award will galvanise the action group and I hope, raise awareness within the local community to campaign for even more funding.

“Cumbria is geographically challenging with steep catchments and sequences of heavy winter storms falling on already saturated ground. All these factors must be considered when planning for the future.

“Our group’s priority is to continue to press for government legislation to ensure water companies responsibly manage their assets, such as reservoirs, for flood alleviation alongside

their duties to supply water and protect the environment.

“The group have been providing well- researched, scientific and community spearheaded solutions to flood risk in their work with the Environment Agency, Cumbria County Council, United Utilities and other key agencies.

“As a group, we believe that the protection of local people, their homes and the welfare of wildlife are not mutually exclusive. We seek a reasonable balance of policies which protect all three.

“A recent House of Lords report from March 2018, acknowledged that the current government is failing rural communities. We hope, as a result of this report, that significant funding will be provided specifically to the Derwent Catchment Area, which hasn’t received extra funding since Storm Desmond in 2015, unlike its sister areas in the Eden and Kent catchments.

“The Derwent Catchment requires a considered approach to flood risk, which acknowledges the actual scale of the problem, namely the vast volumes of water which threaten communities.

“There has to be a co-ordinated approach to managing peak flows, rather than simply ‘slowing the flow’. Only then will our carpets stay dry.”

ISSUE 426 | 23 JUNE 2018 | 6

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