25 new homes plan for Edenvillage “an act of vandalism”

Date: Friday 24th February 2017
Some of the Sockbridge and Tirril villagers who are opposing the housing development proposal.
Some of the Sockbridge and Tirril villagers who are opposing the housing development proposal.

“AN act of vandalism” is how residents have greeted plans for up to 25 new homes in an Eden village on the fringe of the Lake District.

Posters have gone up around Thorpe Field at Sockbridge and Tirril this week, calling on residents to “Save our Village”.

Darlington-based agent Savils has submitted an outline application to Eden Council for residential development and associated parking. The homes — 30 per cent. of which would be “affordable” — would go on a 1.15 hectare green field site to the west of Sockbridge, off the B5320 on the road to Ullswater, described as “prime agricultural land”.

The company is acting for the Lowther Estate Trust Grandchildren’s Fund, based at the estate office, Lowther.

Local resident John Innerdale, aged 84, is the spokesman for objectors who have arranged a public meeting today. He said: “This is considered to be an act of vandalism. There would be a loss of visual amenity and loss of a green field site.

“The proposed development is of an exceptionally high density and of urban design just 0.3km from the national park boundary and highly visible. It also ignores existing infrastructure because of the overloaded Sockbridge sewage system.”

The proposed development would be just 25 metres away from the home Mr. Innerdale has shared with wife, Diana, for 20 years. Mr. Innerdale said: “The roofline at the highest point would be 10 metres above the floor level of adjacent neighbouring properties in Thorpe Field.”

The retired architect and town planning consultant said new housing in Sockbridge and Tirril has stirred strong feelings in the past. A referendum in 2015 on the inclusion of the community as a “hub” for homes in Eden District Council’s local plan resulted in an 80 per cent. “no” vote. in a turnout of 75 per cent.

Sockbridge and Tirril Parish Council plans to decide its position at its next meeting on 6th March. Chairman Haydn Morris said: “The plan for 25 houses is the sort of development that everyone here was upset about during the local plan consultation. It’s an extension to the village in a very prominent position near the national park.”

The applicant did not respond to a request from the Herald for comment. It says in its application, however, that the housing would be “high quality” and help address a shortage of homes in Eden on a site not subject to local or national protections.

It said the plan was “in keeping with the scale of the village” and did not “represent a significant visual intrusion”. It would increase the local population to the benefit of local spending and create jobs through the construction and sales period.

Eden Council is said to be opposed to using the full 2.38 hectare site for house-building but might consider a smaller site “more favourably”.

A residents’ meeting organised by those opposed to the application has been arranged for 11am today at Tirril reading rooms.