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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Cumbrian villagers hail victory as homes rejected

Villagers are celebrating after plans to build new homes were refused.

Magnuse home Wetheral graphic
How the homes could look

The rejection of the proposals in Wetheral comes in the same week that planners deferred making a decision on whether to allow 125 new homes in Dalston.

Magnus Homes had hoped to build six new houses in the centre of Wetheral, on a car park behind Lime House. The property is already in the process of being converted into nine luxury flats.

The proposals had sparked outrage among villagers, who claimed the site would be over-developed.

The decision on Monday, by Carlisle City Council’s development control panel, was met with cheers and applause by the protesters.

The application had been amended from a previous version, reducing the number of properties by one. Both proposals had been recommended for approval by planning officers.

John Askew, speaking on behalf of the 70-strong Save Wetheral Village group, said that despite the changes, the proposals still failed to comply with the local plan and did not enhance the character of the Wetheral Conservation Area.

In a statement after the meeting, the campaigners said: “We have been very disappointed that, despite about 100 letters of objection, together with very detailed representations from the parish council and the Save Wetheral Village Group, planning officers continued to recommend approval for these houses.

“The council’s heritage officer had made clear in a memorandum to planners, that these plans were unacceptable in this form.

“We are pleased that councillors decided the planning officers were wrong to ignore his views.”

Bob Taylor, Magnus Homes’ agent, insisted the proposals complied with local planning policy and the views of residents had been taken on board.

“It is a sustainable location with easy access to public transport,” he added.

Councillor Barry Earp questioned why some of the new homes could not be moved further away from the existing buildings.

Fellow councillor Willie Whalen said he was disappointed that – since the first plan was refused – there had not been constructive discussions between the developer and the villagers.

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