Absorb detail, urges businessman
PENRITH businessman Dan Harding strongly supports the masterplan and is urging people to read the council’s literature before passing judgement.
Mr Harding, aged 30, who runs Foundry 34 and two chip shops in the town, said: “Too many people jump on the bandwagon of negativity when they haven’t even read the actual plan. The plan is something the council has to put in place to give a vision of the direction we are going.”
His close involvement in the Penrith Business Improvement District (BID) has enabled him to see that companies, including his own, faced massive recruitment problems.
He said the lack of affordable housing also made it very difficult to draw new people to Penrith.
“What’s good about Eden District Council is that they are starting to get their vision together and have a new, younger generation of councillors on board,” he said.
“I think people like Kevin Beaty (council leader) have a lot of vision and are only trying their best to see Penrith do well.
“The population is growing and we have a massive shortage of housing in this country, something like in excess of a million homes. The council has to do something and new homes have to go somewhere.
“It could also bring more jobs to Penrith and in my eyes that would be good for the town centre because it is struggling.
“The council can’t just do nothing and just because it is in the plan doesn’t mean it is definitely going to happen. Some of this may never happen. Some people do not like change. More people could potentially come here and set up a business, but if Penrith stays static, they will pass us by and go to places like Kendal, Keswick or Carlisle. All councils have to have a plan.”
Mr Harding (pictured) felt the only shortcoming was the need to include a potential bypass between the A66 and Stoneybeck roundabout, which has been dropped from the published proposals because it is not on the agenda of Highways England.