“Eyesore” sites should be given priority over green fields for village housing

Date: Tuesday 4th July 2017

Sir, The recent ruling to grant outline planning permission for housing on a field on the edge of Lazonby perhaps should be seen as a warning to all villages and townships within 10 miles of Penrith.

Looking into the matter, one notes that the decision to give outline planning permission for land at Scaur Lane is actually in direct contradiction to a premier observation by the external inspector when approving, on appeal, The Meadows development directly next to the land in question.

This inspector’s summating thoughts were: “The majority of dwellings in the immediate area date from the 1970s and in terms of type, size, design and finish, exhibit a significant degree of variation, which contributes to the character and appearance of Lazonby. In terms of their size, type, design and finish the proposed new dwellings [The Meadows development] would complement the character and form of existing development in this part of the settlement.”

However, the combined effect of The Meadows development and the newly-approved one next to it turns this statement on its head. The effect of the two developments adjoining each other will, in truth, constitute an estate of almost 100 new houses of current contemporary design; a dominant block of housing which clearly does not fit into or enhance the character and form of this or any part of Lazonby.

A report to the meeting of the planning committee at which the new outline approval was granted concludes: “Whilst the proposed development would result in a degree of harm to residential amenity and the character of the village, it is considered that the level of harm would not be significantly adverse and demonstrable so as to outweigh the benefits of the scheme in accordance with paragraph 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

“The proposed development makes a good contribution towards the supply of housing within the district and provides sufficient gains in terms of local housing supply to outweigh the harm.”

This degree of harm to residential amenity could, however, be wholly removed and the village served in far better fashion as follows: Lazonby has three shabby eyesores that are visible to all passers through, visitors and residents alike; the old egg packing station, the old telephone exchange and “the piggeries” area at the foot of the village. It is these sites that should be given priority for the provision of affordable homes; affordable homes that are truly needed by locals and to provide sustainability for Lazonby. Homes that would radically improve, fit into, and enhance the character and appearance of Lazonby. Homes that do not come as an enforced quota within a larger development.

Furthermore, in this time of Brexit is it not more sustainable and sensible to retain as much pasture land as possible for sheep and cattle?

We need to maintain, if not increase, our native food stocks for the country’s cooking pots when current and future trade agreements are in such turmoil rather than lose such land irretrievably to housing. Yours, etc,

STEPHE FLETCHER

Meadow Close,

Lazonby.