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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Firm calls for rethink on Workington affordable housing

A major housing developer has pledged its commitment to build a multi-million-pound housing and holiday complex in Workington.

But Persimmon Homes Lancashire has gone back to the drawing board to make sure it can continue with its plans for the former Corus Rail site at Moss Bay.

Persimmon wants to develop a residential area over nearly 52 acres.

It would also include a pub, leisure facilities, offices, health care, retail units, a hotel and more than seven acres of open space.

The whole development would cover 76 acres of brownfield land off Lakes Road.

The company this week asked planners if it could remove a 10 per cent “affordable housing” provision earmarked in its original proposal.

It says it wants to have the flexibility to deliver the “best scheme” for the community.

A spokeswoman said the firm was in talks with Allerdale council and the county council about how the money for the social housing provision could be best spent.

It also wants to remove eight other conditions about predicting C02 emissions, renewable energy, flood defences, phased development and a £50,000 scheme for public realm works linking the site to the town centre.

If its amendments are successful, work would start on the site next year, with the first homes available to buy in 2016.

Mark Cook, managing director of Persimmon Homes Lancashire, said: “We remain committed to delivering new homes for Workington and are positive about this scheme.

“Although not specifically designated as such, the application submitted does include units suitable for use as affordable housing in the master plan, while we are in discussions with the local authority to determine the exact public provision that will deliver the best benefit to the local community.

“Some of the variations we seek consent for relate to conditions which are no longer applicable to this site, or are intended to make the development viable in the current economic climate, given the high cost of remediation work needed to make the site suitable for development.”

The site, owned by Olnato Limited, has been vacant since the steelworks closed in 2006.

Eatonfield Developments Limited was originally granted planning permission for an £80 million seaside community, but the firm went into liquidation in 2011.

Allerdale council’s housing services told planners that a 2012 survey found that Workington was lacking homes for social rent and low-cost home ownership.

It said there was a need for all types of houses including a 34 per cent need for three-bedroom homes.

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