A Beacon of hope …

Date: Friday 20th April 2018

IT is reassuring to learn from Eden Council leader Kevin Beaty that the authority will not be prepared to accede to any large-scale, intrusive development on the side of Beacon Hill overlooking Penrith.

The unthinkable possibility is raised by the distribution by the council of an illustrative map, as part of informal discussions with landowners on the authority’s Penrith masterplan, showing that the landmark is proposed for “sensitive/low density mixed use space”.

When the map was first produced around 18 months ago, no mention was made of any part of Beacon Hill featuring in the plans, so there will be huge unease in Penrith and far beyond at the thought that it is now being seen as a wedge of potential development land, no matter how sensitive or low key any future proposals might be.

While Mr Beaty assures us that the Penrith-facing side of the hill will remain pristine, there are no such guarantees for the eastern section, which he thinks could be sensitively developed for amenity and leisure use.

However, even the prospect of development away from general view is still likely to lead to “hands off the Beacon” calls.

If Eden has its way, Penrith will be surrounded by the concrete of major roads and the motorway — and the noise emanating from them — within the next 30 years, so retention of the town’s traditional welcoming, forested feature will be vital.

Public consultation on the masterplan cannot start soon enough. Unpalatable suggestions can sometimes become accepted without the views of local residents being taken into account.