THE extent of opposition to Eden Council’s masterplan for Penrith, which would result in the building of three new villages containing more than 5,500 new homes as well as a new large tract of employment land, is beginning to become clearer.
By today, the council should have received petitions bearing thousands of signatures either against the proposals in their entirety or a matter of key concern to residents of the town — development on the Beacon. This is in addition to any responses sent directly to the authority as part of its public engagement process over the masterplan, which has just ended.
Meanwhile, Lib Dem and Labour district councillors have come together to voice nine key concerns over the council’s vision on how Penrith should progress in the next 30 years.
One thing to have emerged from the eight-week consultation is a strong feeling that many people and organisations would like to play a meaningful role in the development of plans for Penrith. This is something which they — along with councillors not on Eden’s executive — have so far been denied.
Some are pointing to examples elsewhere in the country where co-operative working has produced positive results; and the consultation process around the neighbourhood development plan being produced by Penrith Town Council — drawn up with residents’ input — is said to be something which the district council should follow.
Eden’s next step should be to harness the energy generated in opposition to the masterplan and use it in the creation of proposals which the public, and councillors, do find acceptable in the undeniably vital aim of providing affordable housing for local people as well as more well-paid jobs.