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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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‘Major accident’ fear over plan for new houses at Dalston

A proposed housing estate near Dalston could be stalled – because of the risk of a ‘major accident’.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says there are sufficient reasons to advise against granting planning permission for Story Homes development of 128 homes on land between Station Road and Townhead Road.

It says the site is within the ‘distance of a major hazard site’ – an oil depot in nearby Station Road – and there is the “possibility of a major accident”.

“This could have serious consequences for people in the vicinity,” they say, in a letter to the city council.

“Although the likelihood is small, it is felt prudent for planning purposes to consider the risks to people in the vicinity of the hazardous installation.”

The HSE goes on to say it would provide ‘the necessary support’ if an appeal was lodged by the developer should the plans be turned down for safety reasons.

It also said that, should the plans be approved, it would consider whether to request the Secretary of State for the Environment to call-in the application.

The plans, lodged last month, have angered some residents, with concerns about the size of the village and impact on traffic.

Twelve objections have been lodged with the council planning team, with David Wilson, of the Old Vicarage, claiming there wasn’t a need for the housing, that it would lead to ‘unsustainable’ pressure on the school and that the “massive” proposal would destroy Dalston as a village. Others cited concerns about the amount of traffic the development would bring.

Dr Judith Anderson, of Craketrees, said the houses, many of which were four and five bedrooms, could increase the population of Dalston by around 400. She said vehicle movements - which were already ‘congested’ - could increase by 900 journeys on the two roads.

Those in support of the plans include Sam Rigg, 62, assistant manager of the village butcher, Carrock Meats, who was all for the development.

He said: “It’s just what we want. It will bring more customers in and that’s a help to shops likes ours.”

Julie Greer, 55, a planning consultant from London with a home at Cumdivock, said: “This is just the sort of place where housing developments should happen, in a vibrant community.”

Graham Parker, technical manager for Story Homes, gave a presentation to villagers last month and said the estate would ‘respect the location and the homes would reflect Dalston’s character’.

He said it would be a mix of house sizes and help the village remain a “vibrant, growing settlement’.

Story says that the scheme would support 60 jobs while the estate is built over four to five years. It hopes to start next summer.

A quarter of the homes would be classed as ‘affordable’ either for sale to local buyers at a discounted price or offered for rent through a housing association.

Carlisle City Council has earmarked the land as suitable for housing.

A spokesman for Story Homes said: “We are fully aware of the consultation distances from the depot and our submitted scheme takes account of this.

“We are confident the planning authority will consider this scheme appropriately in conjunction with health and safety advice received.”

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