Draft local plan says 4,356 new homes to be built in Eden in next 15 years

Date: Tuesday 11th July 2017

A FINAL draft of the Eden local plan went out for consultation yesterday, offering residents a last opportunity to give their views on housing numbers, proposed development sites and planning policies which will shape decisions in the district for the next 15 years.

After a planning inspector sought numerous changes to the proposed number of houses to be built in the district up until 2032, and to the places in which they might be built, Eden Council went back to the drawing board.

The result is an increase of 756 to the target number of homes to be built in the district in the next 15 years; the figure is now 4,356, or 242 each year.

The aim is that half of these will be built in Penrith (2,178 homes); nine per cent. in Appleby (392); seven per cent. in Kirkby Stephen (305); three per cent. in Alston (131); 20 per cent. spread across 13 named “key hubs” (871); and 11 per cent. (479) across the remaining villages and hamlets in the district.

The list of key hubs has been reduced from 28 to 13 and now includes just Armathwaite, Brough and Church Brough, Culgaith, Greystoke, High and Low Hesket, Kirkby Thore, Langwathby, Lazonby, Nenthead, Plumpton, Shap, Stainton and Tebay.

Suitable sites have been identified in these villages, while the 15 which have been removed from the list as being less sustainable will now become part of a group of 102 smaller villages and hamlets where house building will be limited to “small scale, sensitive development to meet local demand”.

Future growth sites beyond the allocated figures have also been identified in some of the towns, in case there is a continued “under-delivery” on approved housing sites. Detailed documents and maps are available to view and download from Eden Council’s website at eden.gov.uk/elpconsultation.

Eden’s planning policy manager, Kevin Hutchinson, said: “We are hopefully at the final consultation stage prior to adopting our Eden local plan. Once adopted, the plan will be the key piece of planning policy that will shape how the Eden district develops over the next 15 years.

“We have worked hard during the public inquiry and the two rounds of subsequent hearings to address the concerns of the various interested parties and now feel confident that we have a sound plan.”

Mr. Hutchinson stressed that the final consultation can only focus on the main modifications which had been made to the plan, which is largely the increase in the target number of houses to be built and related sites.

He added that the sites allocated for housing in the towns and villages could still change between now and the adoption of the plan.

While the authority has set out final proposed sites which it believes are suitable for development, the “window of opportunity” between now and adoption could still see alternative sites gain planning permission, thereby reducing the number which need to be identified within the development document. This is highly pertinent in Kirkby Stephen, where two planning applications have been submitted since allocated sites were identified. If they are approved, this would reduce the number of sites the council needed to include within the local plan.

However, if the local plan is adopted before these planning applications are determined, the chances of them obtaining planning approval, if they are not within the allocated sites, becomes lower.

Comments on the final draft of the plan must be made in writing and consultation documents and response forms are available at council offices, Local Links centres and libraries across the district.

Five community engagement events will also be held during the consultation period focusing on the final modifications to the local plan, as well as other housing and neighbourhood planning issues. Dates and venues are as follows: Kirkby Stephen, Upper Eden Rugby Club, 17th July, 7pm-9pm; Penrith town hall, 18th July, 6-30pm-8-30pm; Skelton, Toppin Memorial Hall, 24th July, 7pm-9pm; Appleby public hall, 31st July, 7pm-9pm; Alston town hall, 2nd August, 7pm-9pm.