Penrith Aerial
A masterplan for Penrith will feed in to the updated Local Plan

Eden prepares Local Plan review after just 12 months

Charlie Schouten

Eden Council is looking to launch an early review of its Local Plan, which was only adopted in October last year and still has around 12 years left to run.

Public consultation is set to begin in January next year on the first stages of the updated framework, which is set to replace the existing Local Plan, running from 2014 to 2032.

This was only adopted in October 2018 after being worked up for around five years and included proposals to build up to 4,300 homes over an 18-year period. It also included a number of prominent employment sites, including a 29.4-acre extension of the Gilwilly Industrial Estate, and 11 acres of land near Appleby.

However, since the plan’s adoption has been hit with a number of issues, including a shortage of employment land; planning applications, including one for a 19-acre site off Junction 41 of the M6, have been approved despite the land not being allocated in the Local Plan.

Issues were also raised around the increasingly ageing population in the borough, which also has the lowest population density in England. Changes to the boundaries of both the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks have also impacted the Local Plan, with any updated Local Plan due to cover a smaller area.

While opting to review the Local Plan was acknowledged by the council to be “by far the most expensive” option on the table, with a potential cost of £250,000, Eden said it would be the best way to “replace out-of-date strategy and policy detail” across the borough.

Under a timeline due to be agreed by the council next week, a first round of public consultation will run between January and February next year, with evidence gathering running between November this year and October 2021.

A submission of the Local Plan to the Secretary of State is planned for April 2023, meaning the Local Plan is unlikely to be adopted in March 2024, subject to public consultation and sign-off from the Government; the council admitted the process could be “disrupted” depending on feedback from both the public and the Planning Inspectorate.

Changes to the Local Plan already put forward include reconsidering the number of homes to be built, currently set at 4,356 over the existing plan period; identifying additional plots for employment land; and a review of the existing Eden Retail Study.

The updated timeline for the Local Plan is set to be agreed on 5 November.

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