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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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More sites shortlisted for phase 2 of Penrith business park

Four sites have been identified for a planned business park in Penrith which could include a hotel, festival site, theatre and golf course.

Debbie Wicks photo
Debbie Wicks

Eden council revealed last year it wants to create a new development – provisionally called Eden Business Park Phase Two – to attract businesses to the town and create new jobs.

The council had originally earmarked a 200-acre stretch of land from junction 41 to the existing Eden Business Park. The idea was to develop the under-used junction 41 intersection and ease traffic on the busy junction 40 – the main access to Penrith from the M6 and the A66. However, that would require a new link road which could cost £5m.

Although that plan is still favoured, councillors have now identified three other sites – land on the west of the M6, Redhills, and Skirsgill – as other potential locations.

Councillor Debbie Wicks, who chairs the Eden Business Park scrutiny review, said: “We’ve taken a step back to look at other potential sites.

“The junction 41 site is still the favoured location, but it would require a new link road costing £5m which is money the council simply hasn’t got at the moment.

“We are committed to this development.

“Penrith needs to do more to attract the kind of businesses that are going to create well paid jobs for the town.

“We have been good at attracting tourists – that’s probably our main industry – but we have to be better at attracting other investment.

“I want to see CEOs of big companies looking at Penrith and saying: ‘I fancy moving my business up there and giving my kids a better lifestyle’.

“With broadband and remote working, there is no reason now why businesses can’t base themselves in Penrith.

“The Eden Business Park Phase Two plan is very aspirational at the moment.

“The next step is to find a developer who would partner with us to deliver the project.”

In a plan presented to the council last year, the park is envisaged as a transport and distribution hub.

A proposed ecology park would promote habitats for indigenous wildlife and plants while a space for a theatre, festivals and a sculpture park could also be part of the development along with a helicopter landing pad.

There are also plans for wind turbines, a ‘gateway’ hotel, an ice rink, a gym, biomass planting, commercial greenhouses and small-scale hydro-electric schemes on the River Petteril.

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