Friends of the Lake District have kindly allowed KPS to share their letter to EDC in which they raise serious concerns on a number of levels about the proposed Penrith Strategic Masterplan. To read their excellent letter in full please click the link.
Read below the summary points from Friends of The Lake District comments to EDC concerning the Penrith Strategic Masterplan.
Process and Status: Friends of the Lake district raise several points:
- The letter addresses the confusion as to the process adopted to ‘propose and progress the Masterplan and its relationship with other documents’:
- Friends of the Lake District state that in the Strategic Masterplan documents it not clear how the decisions to promote the Masterplan as the preferred option arose from the original 2016/17 Draft Vision document, nor how the Masterplan relates to the recently adopted Local Plan.
- Concerns about the process of the Masterplan Consultation:
‘There is concern that the consultation undertaken up to 2nd November 2018 has not readily provided respondents with the opportunity to comment on options other than the Preferred Option’.
Principles: (concerns are raised about the principle of the proposals)
Questions whether there is a ‘genuine’ need for this scale of development:
1.The Masterplan itself states that without it (the masterplan), based on current trends, it is expected that the District would grow by about 2,200 houses by 2050. It is unclear why it is “vitally important that Penrith and Eden …grow the local population”
- Question the cumulative impacts of the Beacons Development with other major development in the region – ‘Eden Local Plan; Carlisle ‘Garden Village’; Lake District National Park Local Plan; A66 upgrades.’
- Raise concern regarding the low number (only 30%) of proposed affordable homes within the scheme.
- Raise concern about precedent setting and future strategy implications (for future planning) and the perpetuation of reliance on roads.
The question has to be asked – where, and at what point in time, will development stop? No consideration appears to have been given by EDC as to the likely future expansion of proposed garden Villages, or the impact on road use.
Impacts – sustainability, visual, land use:
In terms of assessing the impacts, there is no evidence that a Sustainability Appraisal, Habitats Regulations Assessment or Environmental Impact Assessment of options has been undertaken in order to identify this option as the most sustainable or appropriate.
Whilst the Masterplan documentation includes obligatory references to proposals being ‘sustainable’, minimising impacts on the environment, protecting ecologically and historically sensitive sites, ‘not spoil[ing] the views’, and a repeated insistence that the proposals will be ‘integrated into the landscape’, it fails to properly assess the impacts or to recognise the inevitability that even if ‘minimised’, the least possible impact of a proposal of this nature and scale will be significant. Masterplan itself states that Beacon villages will in fact be visible from the Lake district National Park and Eden.
- Raise concerns regarding the Permanent destruction of finite greenfield land
- Questions whether the proposed three new Garden Villages will be a part of or separate too Penrith
- Raises concerns about the level of reliance on new roads:
New road building has been shown to simply encourage and increase car-based travel, for example in the study report ‘The end of the road? Challenging the road-building consensus’ commissioned by CPRE and carried out by consultants Transport for Quality of Life (TfQL)1.
For the proposed strategy for Penrith’s future to be labelled sustainable, the required assessments and a proper consideration of strategic alternatives needs to be made, within a process and timeframe within which local people and others with an interest in the area can properly participate and have a say from the outset.
For full document click the orange link above.
The end of the road? Challenging the road-building consensus. TheZendZofZtheZroad