Monstrous might not even come closeto describing “vision” for Penrith

Date: Friday 20th April 2018

Sir, It is now almost 34 years since Prince Charles made his famous “carbuncle” speech, an analogy Eden Council’s leader has now used (Herald, 14th April) to describe a proposed flyover which he is urging councillors to reject.

The flyover is part of plans to dual the A66 between Penrith and Scotch Corner, something which is long overdue. Action has been pledged by Philip Hammond in his 2016 Autumn Statement and it would be a pity if Eden District Council were to delay the plans.

The problem, of course, is that Eden Council favours an eastern bypass for the town because it is part of its plans for the development of Penrith. To quote Kevin Beaty, the council leader, “creation of this new road could unlock land to deliver 10,000 new homes and 500 acres of employment land”.

The only problem with all of this is that if one flyover is described as a carbuncle, I am unsure if Prince Charles’s additional use of the word monstrous comes anywhere near describing what is planned for Penrith.

The proposed eastern bypass alone would need at least one bridge to cross the Eamont and a flyover to then cross the A686 Langwathby road, west of Whins Pond.

This flyover would probably need to be extended to enable the road to make the steep ascent on the flanks of Beacon Hill, crossing two lines of electricity pylons, some of which would probably need to be resited during the works, and the route would then roughly follow the southernmost line of pylons, crossing the Salkeld road south west of the old Maidenhill pub, with presumably another flyover and onwards to the Stoneybeck roundabout.

Penrith then would be effectively encircled by major trunk roads and motorway.

The land from Stoneybeck to around Milestone House is marked for “employment” use, or should that be industrial estate?

The other land within the eastern bypass area, including the flanks of Beacon Hill, is designated for housing, except for that on the flood plain, which is recreational. The other remaining green areas would be the golf course and the uppermost part of Beacon Hill.

Dr Corner (Herald, 14th April) discussed the views to the north and into Scotland which used to be enjoyed from the Beacon pike. This is a prominent hill, clearly visible from where I used to live near Kirkoswald. Any housing development on its northerly and easterly sides would be visible for miles around.

Being encircled by major roads, with increased pollution and no easy route to escape on foot, would be a problem for anyone living in Penrith. How many people at present take a recreational walk between Stainton and Skirsgill, for example? Walks around the Beacon are presently more peaceful but still must contend with noise from the motorway and the A66.

There would be no respite behind the Beacon if the eastern bypass went ahead and many popular walks would be lost, particularly as housing and employment sites developed. 2050, of course, is a long way away, and a shorter term strategic plan for Penrith with less alarming housing plans is soon to be ratified.

The eastern bypass, however, should not form part of that plan, both because of the long-term developments which would ensue and because Highways England has discounted the possibility of an eastern bypass as it would cost £180 million. Isn’t it time for Eden District Council to think again? Yours etc,


Wordsworth Street,