ALL THE LATEST NEWS, VIEWS AND STORIES FROM AROUND YOUR LOCAL AREA:SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER Letters to the Cockermouth Post Water, water everywhere and not enough to drink?

At the present time, our water comes from Crummock Water and Ennerdale Water which are full, whereas Thirlmere is extremely low. After 2022, our water source will be switched to Thirlmere. I hope United Utilities are confident that we will continue to have a regular supply of water in the future.

Chris Bower The language of planning apparatchiks!

Further to my letter published in the August issue of the Cockermouth Post, I feel I must expand my response (Times & Star 24th August) to the somewhat patronising views expressed by Ian Frost (Times & Star 17th August) after the 'Post' had gone to press.

Whilst his letter expresses the current legal position, it fails to address the underlying disquiet expressed from the outset by the majority of Cockermouth residents. One remembers the procedural fiasco at the initial planning meeting, now highlighted so eloquently in the Times & Star (24th August) by Independent Allerdale councillor Bill Finlay, who was actually present!

It is implied that objectors are resistant to 'change' per se, whilst failing to recognise that their arguments are soundly based and reasoned. This is particularly important in the light of more recent information obtained concerning the lack of data from the Environment Agency on the flooding issue, which was apparently ambiguously presented to the development panel in 2014.

The inference was that the motivation behind the objections is solely 'nimbyism'.

Change can only be acceptable when it is proportionate, well planned and conducive to the overall wellbeing of the population in general.

If this development had conformed to the council's own declared criteria, enshrined in the Local Plan, had been more thoughtfully sited and appropriate infrastructure considerations built into the planning process, then it may very well have been welcomed.

Demonstrably, the Story development at Strawberry How meets none of these criteria and indeed, fails miserably on all counts, particularly the potential flooding issue.

I would be most interested to learn whether our planners' ideas of 'sensitivity of development' and 'minimising impacts to an acceptable level' – which they fail to transparently quantify – accord with the perceptions of the general public.

I mentioned the farcical presentation by Cumbria Highways representatives at the Cockermouth Town Council meeting on 18th July in the last issue of the Post. It underlined the complete lack of understanding of, and planning for increased traffic flow through the town. They seemed impervious to the concerns expressed at the lack of a comprehensive traffic survey, favouring the financing of questionable measures instead.

Similarly, there is a deafening silence from the appropriate health and educational bodies regarding any forward planning to meet the relatively abrupt increase in the population of the town (30%) generated by existing and planned developments, which is scandalous to put it mildly.

I am pleased that the Council 'fully acknowledges' that the scale of the development will have an adverse impact, but I am afraid they have not met their obligations in any way to minimise that impact beyond a series of wordy statements and worthless gestures.

It took a report by a Cockermouth resident to alert them to the presence of the two protected trees mentioned in Mr. Frost's missive, otherwise they would not have been spared the bulldozer.

Story Homes apparently still continues to disregard ecological constraints (Facebook post, Peter Skillen 15/8/18), despite the protestations of Envirotech who are responsible for monitoring ecology for the developer. This post appears to show pollution of Tom Rudd Beck, emanating from the demolition of the old hump back bridge, upstream of sensitive, protected otter habitat.

To quote directly from a statement by Envirotech, published openly on Allerdale BC's planning website in response to a query from Natural England:

“I fear the locals have yet again tried to frustrate the planning process and WWW.THECOCKERMOUTHPOST.CO.UK

are ignoring the ongoing monitoring, methods statements and work undertaken by Story Homes to protect and enhance the river corridor.”

This, I think amply illustrates the contempt with which objectors are viewed!

During the lengthy spell of hot weather we recently experienced, it was also obvious that the SUDS pond on Phase 1 of the development retained an appreciable quantity of repulsive, stagnant water. This issue was highlighted and photographed by Chris Orr in the last issue of the Cockermouth Post and should have been obvious if proper monitoring had been undertaken. Perhaps the level of the water table has also been underestimated?

This lack of attention to detail in planning, failure to accept any input of local knowledge even from expert sources and worse still, to fail to adequately monitor the result of that planning does not inspire confidence in the project overall, particularly with respect to the flooding risk downstream.

Be assured Mr. Frost that your condescending comments in an attempt to stifle criticism, which are similar to the diktats issued by an old Eastern Bloc state, have in no way ameliorated the situation.

Perhaps I am mistaken in my understanding, that local government planners are advisory adjuncts to the relevant council and therefore subject to forensic scrutiny of their actions.

If pre-existing planning decisions made by the council prove later to be based on flawed data, then those decisions should be subject to fundamental and public review, even if outline permission has already been granted. If this is not legally the case, then the law is most definitely an ass!

I would therefore suggest that if this unnecessary development proceeds and the resulting infrastructure problems outlined earlier occur due to the actions of the council and its planners, then those responsible at whatever level should be held firmly to account.

I am afraid that expediency and good planning do not mix well, and the losers are usually the existing residents when the easy option is taken!

R. D. Bratton Cockermouth For the nameless, selfless gentleman who was a treasure

On Wednesday 29th August, my Wife Lesley was knocked down by a van at the bottom of Riverdale Drive and she asks if you could be so kind as to express her thanks to various people, through the services of your excellent paper.

May I through your paper, say a huge thank you to the unknown gentleman who kindly came to my assistance after a bad accident on Dale View at 10.50am. He held my hand and gave constant reassurance for almost an hour, until an ambulance arrived.

I spent two days in A&E, returning home with four cracked ribs, a large hematoma and much pain, which is now beginning to ease.

The emergency services were brilliant, both at the scene of the accident and in hospital. However, this nameless, selfless gentleman was a treasure and I cannot thank him enough for his kindness.

Lesley and Bryan Heskett Sustainable Drainage Systems

For some time, I have warned through the medium of a number of newspapers that there is no such thing as a Blue Corridor in nature, also called Suds Ponds which could retain the capacity of a spate which flows down the Tom Rudd Beck.

The Suds Ponds at the Strawberry Grange development, are not only a health and safety hazard but also a contravention of the Environment Act 1995 Chapter 2.5 Schedule 16 (5) with a fine not exceeding £20,000. The proof is in the 2 photographs published in the last edition of the Post. Green Algae is a toxic and deleterious substance also a transmitter of infection.

It would take a containment almost the size of Siddick Ponds starting from a dry bed to retain any floodwater coming down the Tom Rudd Beck and even this is a conservative estimate taking both areas into consideration.

C. Straughton Ex Building and Civil Engineer ISSUE 429 | 20 SEPTEMBER 2018 | 3

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