Upper Eden has spoken

Date: Monday 26th February 2018

UPPER Eden residents broke new ground when they turned out at the polls to vote in a local planning referendum.

The result — a decisive “yes” for an off-grid eco house developed by Adam Hoyle at Mallerstang, which had been threatened with demolition — has brought great relief to Mr Hoyle and his family.

The vote has wider implications for the area if similar controversial issues arise in the future.

The neighbourhood development order referendum, one of a small number held so far nationally, puts Eden in the vanguard of localism.

More than 4,400 registered electors in the Upper Eden neighbourhood plan area had the opportunity to vote, and a turnout of 28.3 per cent showed that many took their responsibilities seriously.

It is now nearly 10 years since a planning appeal was held to consider whether the house should be demolished after it had been restored without planning consent.

The property was left in a legislative no-man’s-land after Eden Council ordered that it be partially demolished, but that was rendered impossible by the discovery of roosting bats in the building.

The referendum has provided a means to resolve a seemingly intractable problem, to move forward a situation which has been tied up in bureaucratic knots for years.

Whatever one thinks of the politics behind localism, in this instance it seems to have empowered a community to make its own decision. Upper Eden has spoken.