Land west of Derwent Howe Retail Park, Port Derwent Properties, c Google Earth

The plot in question sits across Derwent Drive from the Workington Morrisons. Credit: Google Earth

Butterfly concerns batted away as govt approves Workington retail park

Port Derwent Properties can move forward with its outline plans to build 25,300 sq ft of shops, restaurants, and takeaways on four acres of brownfield land off Derwent Drive.

The Planning Inspectorate has overturned Allerdale Council’s 2022 refusal of the Workington project. The council’s rejection was made contrary to planning officer recommendations and had been focused on the impact a commercial park would have on the blue butterflies that use the site as a dispersal corridor.

The fears came after an ecological expert ruled that the development would have a major adverse impact on the local butterfly and moth populations – especially the blue butterflies.

Land west of Derwent Howe Retail Park, Port Derwent, p. planning

Port Derwent’s plans show protected areas for the blue butterflies. Credit: via planning documents

However, the inspector said that Port Derwent Properties’ mitigation efforts would be sufficient to protect the population. These include a specific area set aside for the blue butterflies as well as the creation of an additional habitat on the site’s western boundary.

Inspector Caroline Mulloy wrote in her decision: “I have concluded that with suitable mitigation secured by condition, that the proposal would not have an adverse impact on the ecology and wildlife biodiversity value of the site and would provide a net gain in biodiversity”.

Also in the scheme’s favour was its brownfield location. The site was previously had a railway line that serviced the now-demolished steelworks.

Tetra Tech is the planning consultant on the scheme – which was initially submitted for planning consideration in 2018.

You can see Port Derwent Properties’ application for the project by searching 2/2018/0595 on Cumberland Council’s planning portal. Its reference number with the Planning Inspectorate is APP/G0908/W/22/3311802.

Your Comments

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I understood the concept of attracting new retailers etc but when there are so many buildings that are empty such as the Caspian restaurant just down the road from this site and shops in the town. There’s also st. Helens retail park opposite Asda that’s no longer fit for purpose. It was bad enough when TKmax only used a fraction of a building when it had enough other retail space and a cafe that could have been utilised. So what makes this planning application so special and cost effective.


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