“Retirement living solutions”

Date: Wednesday 18th July 2018

Sir, As a lifelong customer I have observed the demolition of Armstrong & Fleming’s former garage premises in Roper Street, Penrith, with some sadness.

As this is to facilitate the construction of yet another complex of battery cage apartments for the elderly (aka “retirement living solutions”), I suppressed a dark thought on the supreme suitability of the site for such a purpose given the fact that this complex will be situated in arguably the most polluted area of Penrith and also conveniently close to the premises of two undertakers.

As a member of the planning committee of Eden District Council (EDC) I have voiced my concerns regarding the lack of retirement housing provision, namely bungalows, on many recent developments.

It seems the council’s ruling elite has now acknowledged the need for such provision and I look forward to seeing such schemes implemented at a local level, together perhaps with others aimed at releasing three-bedroomed properties owned or tenanted by single occupiers wishing to downsize.

So-called “market-led housing” continues to be approved because developers put profitability and inducements before genuine need. Hence — if my memory serves me right — very little provision of bungalows on the Carleton Heights, Raiselands Farm and Salkeld Road developments to date.

I am increasingly concerned over pollution levels in this part of town. Atmospheric pollution statistics from EDC’s environmental health department show the measurements taken in what are deemed to be the most polluted areas of our town. It surprises me that while Meeting House Lane was monitored, Kilgour Street and Castle Hill Road have never apparently been considered worthy of such attention.

I have been informed that a monitor was installed in Castle Drive (notably some distance from Sainsbury’s). When one considers the increase in traffic and extra parking provided for the Highways England staff in Sainsbury’s car park, school buses, parking by Ullswater Community College pupils/parents and the free parking brigade, it should be obvious that the lower end of the Wetheriggs estate suffers from poor air quality during the working day.

I am not convinced the emerging masterplan bodes well for Penrith’s future in this respect due to its aim to double the size of the town in the next few decades — if it happens at all. .

The spectre of New Squares still haunts its deserted and peeling alleyways as testament to ill-conceived and foolhardy developments which continue to impact on this part of town. I understand the vexed question of the future of the former Two Lions public house is part of a consultation between EDC (the owner) and Sainsbury’s (the lessee), and there is “interest” from a third party over its future use.

A consultation group was set up by the town council to address this issue but appears to have stalled regarding a definite solution to date. Meanwhile, the water seepage continues.

I therefore urge all residents to make their views known to both EDC and Penrith Town Council on their plans when the public consultations begin. Yours etc,

MARGARET CLARK

(Independent Penrith South ward councillor, Eden district and Penrith town councils)

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