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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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Spa centre near Carlisle set for planning approval

A spa facility at Rickerby, near Carlisle, is likely to get the go-ahead this week now that planning issues have been ironed out.

Rickerby Spa photo
Rachel Salmon and Daniel Ferguson

Rickerby Retreat will have a swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, gym and two treatment rooms with a cafe/restaurant upstairs.

The scheme was to have gone before city councillors last month but was withdrawn at the eleventh hour to make changes.

The most important of these is to build a new entrance because Cumbria County Council, as the highway authority, was concerned that the existing access has poor visibility.

The new entrance will be 80 metres to the west.

Rickerby Retreat is the brainchild of Rachel Salmon, 32, a former pupil of Carlisle’s Trinity School, and her partner Daniel Ferguson who are moving from Manchester to run the venture.

They plan to convert Rickerby Cottage, which already has a swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna that have been let as a private facility for more than 10 years.

Turning it into a spa will create a dozen jobs, six full-time.

Carlisle City Council has received 15 objections – including one from the Friends of Rickerby Park – and 13 letters and emails supporting the proposal.

Objectors say the spa would bring more traffic and have an “adverse impact” on the Rickerby conservation area. However, supporters say it would boost the tourist economy and provide a useful amenity for local people.

Planning officers are advising councillors to grant planning permission on Friday.

Their report says: “The proposals are acceptable in principle.

“The scale and design would be acceptable and they would not have an adverse impact on the Rickerby Conservation Area or the living conditions of occupiers of neighbouring properties.”

Councillors are likely to impose conditions limiting the cafe/restaurant to 48 diners, all inside the premises – the original proposal would have had up to 162, including 80 outside – and restricting its hours to 10am-10pm.

The leisure facilities will be restricted to a maximum of 12 people at a time, opening from 6.30am to 9pm.

And plans to have wooden camping pods to provide accommodation for walkers have been dropped.

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