Council wasting its time, and our time and money

Date: Monday 1st October 2018

Sir, Unless our council can advance incontrovertible demographic justification for the doubling of the size of our town, it is wasting its time, our time and our money on continuing with its 2050 vision of Penrith, presently on display in Middlegate.

Not only does it need to present its evidence to and convince the public (who, as always, will have to live with the consequences), it will also be required, more importantly, to persuade the county council as strategic planning authority and infrastructure authority (particularly roads and schools) to adjust their spending plans accordingly.

Even if there was a case, the county would then need to look at Eden’s bid for funds and compare it with other pressing fiscal demands, say from the more impoverished towns on our west coast.

Neither will the county forget the recent strongly supported proposals for a 10,000-home expansion to the south of Carlisle requiring a £150 million link road from the M6 at Junction 42, a mere 20 minutes away from here.

However, let us imagine for a moment that our council’s case, if there was one, was indeed watertight and that there was an unavoidable requirement to accommodate 10,000, 15,000 or 20,000 more people in our town.

Given the task, no town planner of any distinction would suggest allocating land for residential purposes anywhere near the Penrith “uplands”, as presently proposed, because of the microclimate and steep land form there.

Furthermore, to locate extensive new housing areas (described as villages) so close to the environmental mayhem of noise and pollution from the proposed M6/A6/A66 link and northern bypass is just outrageous.

In connection with that bypass, I was impressed with our new chief executive advising us (Herald, 8th September) that it had been scrapped in the light of adverse public commentary. This followed the first exposure of “masterplan A” in your issue of 21st April. However, the evidence from the displayed plans in the pop-up shop strongly suggests otherwise.

Could our council clarify which version of events is correct so that we can comment accordingly? The message to our council is clear and strident. If you have a case to expand the town, it must not be done in the manner proposed.

Finally, I trust that the comments on the graffiti wall are not shredded at the end of each day of the exhibition. Let us hope that a council official will be collecting them all during the eight-week consultation period. If so, could he or she reproduce them in book form in time for the Christmas market? Your readers deserve a good laugh out of all of this. Yours etc,

MIKE OLIVER

The Pinfold,

Lazonby.