Story Homes’ Cockermouth plan set for approval

The Cumbrian housebuilder has submitted a reserved matters application for 224 homes, the second phase of its Strawberry Grange estate on the edge of Cockermouth.

Allerdale Borough Council’s planning officers recommend that powers are delegated to the head of place to approve, once measures are in place to secure the landscaping boundary on the eastern boundary of the site.

In what amounts to the second phase of Strawberry Grange, with a 96-home first phase already under way, the company intends to deliver 100 affordable homes – of this, 75% are to be social rent and 25% discounted sale.

The affordable element comprises a mix of smaller houses and apartments, while the market housing includes 16 three-bedroom houses, 66 four-bedroom houses and 42 five-bedroom houses

Access to the site was secured though the outline approval, and will be from Strawberry How Road, via a new bridge over Tom Rudd Beck.

The site is around 22 acres and is currently grazing land to the north of the beck, bound by the beck and former railway line to the south, with the phase one housing and cemetery beyond, housing to the north and west, and open grazing land to the east. The application site is almost rectangular in shape, sloping upwards from the beck.

Cockermouth Town Council is to meet this week and then submit its thoughts. Cockermouth Civic Trust has reiterated its position from the outline application, that the project should be refused on the grounds of unsustainability and inappropriate scale. The Trust has suggested an increased and more varied landscaping and planting strategy.

Around 190 objections were received by the council from members of the public on the initial application, in addition to a 570-strong petition. Further consultation has been held since the outline application as the layout of the scheme has been finalised, and officers report that they are satisfied that amendments made address these concerns.

In conclusion, officers said: “The detailed scheme is considered to provide a good standard of housing environment for future occupiers, whilst relating appropriately to the surrounding pattern, density and scale of development. Land levels change significantly across the site, but officers are satisfied that this has been responded to appropriately within the scheme, reducing retaining structures as much as possible and responding to and retaining the valley form.”

Allerdale’s development panel meets on 22 January. The professional team on the project includes Urban Green and Design By Pod.

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