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Friday, 29 August 2014

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Carlisle gears up for house-building boom

Carlisle is on the brink of a building boom with a string of developments set to expand the city.

Jane Meek photo
Jane Meek

Interest in new housing is increasing as progress is made in drawing up a blueprint dictating what can be built and where.

A number of major developments are already underway or about to start.

Story Homes has its 850-home Crindledyke development. The firm has also been granted permission to build 318 homes at Blackwell.

Work by developer Charles Church to prepare on a 100-plus homes development at Clover Fields, on the corner of Dalston Road and Peter Lane, has also started.

That has led to a 14-week road closure being put in place in the area. It started this week.

The need for new homes in the district has been expertly assessed as 665 per annum for the next 15 years.

That figure will form part of the next Carlisle District Local Plan, which runs from 2015 to 2030, and highlights sites for development.

Work on pulling that document together has coincided with a surge in interest from developers eyeing up locations.

From September 2011 to August 2012, there were 10 applications for major housing developments, which is classed as anything above 10 homes. But from September 2012 to August 2013 there were 20 applications for major schemes – with a further four between then and last month.

They increase in potential developments coming forward means Carlisle is now at the level demanded by Government for housing supply, which dictates there must be a five-year supply in the pipeline.

A surge in new housing development is seen as key to boosting the city’s population and the chance of securing further new investment, jobs and enhancing the area’s economic prospects.

Jane Meek, Carlisle City Council’s economic development director, said: “It’s very positive that we have this level of interest in sites. Slowly we’re beginning to see interest increase.

“From an economic development perspective we quite unique in the way we are situated and the influence we have because of our large economic area, which spreads into south-west Scotland.

“When we talk to people outside Cumbria they say they’re starting to see things pick up economically. We need to make sure we can get part of that growth too.”

The 665 figure is 65 higher than the total estimated as research into the local plan started. It has been raised after growth projections were reviewed.

The local plan highlights areas where housing and industrial developments could take place.

Detailed work ahead of the latest round of consultation into the document has led to some new development sites being identified, as the viability of some areas has been reassessed. Work on a masterplan for the city centre, that will form part of the plan, is continuing.

Mrs Meek added: “These are the building blocks to take Carlisle into the future.”

The four-week consultation on the plan starts on Monday.

The Preferred Options Stage Two document is at libraries, Carlisle Civic Centre or at www.carlisle.gov.uk/localplan.

Drop-in sessions will be held at the city’s tourist information centre on March 15 from 10am until 1pm, between the same times at Brampton Library on March 22 and back at the tourist information centre between 10am and 2pm on March 26.

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