1,000 objections over move to demolish soft play centre
Last updated at 12:55, Friday, 08 March 2013
More than 1,000 people have objected to plans to demolish a Cockermouth children’s soft play centre and cafe.
But the proposal looks likely to be approved next week by Allerdale council.
Mitchells Auction Company has applied for permission to demolish the former Carrs warehouse on Lorton Street.
It wants to investigate knocking down the next-door building which it owns and is occupied by Jordan’s Jungle.
Mitchells wants to build two pairs of semi-detached homes on the site.
But the plans have prompted outrage in the town.
Allerdale council has been sent 221 letters of objection, a 757-name petition and a 225-name online petition.
Centre users said that Jordan’s Jungle offered a valuable and well-used community service.
Objectors said the cafe was the only one of its kind and had resulted in a significant drop in anti-social behaviour in the town, which was confirmed by police.
Despite the objections, the plans have been recommended for approval by council officers, who said that the loss of the building could not be considered as a justified reason for refusal.
Allerdale council’s development panel will meet on Tuesday to discuss the proposal.
Mitchells said that if it obtained permission it would first demolish the old warehouse, which was used as a temporary home for shops hit by the 2009 floods, before investigating whether to knock down the other building.
Despite reassurances from Mitchells that no firm decision had been taken on the future of Jordan’s Jungle, Peggy Bradshaw, who runs the cafe and leases the building, said she was concerned that she would be forced to close down.
Mrs Bradshaw holds the lease until 2018.
She opened the play area and cafe in 2008 and has set up youth cafes for teenagers.
She had hoped to buy the building in the future.
She will attend the planning meeting and one of her customers will speak on her behalf.
Residents in Challoner Court, behind the property, sent letters of support for the plan but asked for a higher wall to be built to increase privacy and security.
But officers felt a wall could be considered as oppressive, despite the already high warehouse wall.
Cockermouth Town Council has not objected to the scheme.
The officers’ report added that the current buildings did not make a positive contribution to the conservation area.
John Rockcliffe, Mitchells director and head of its land agency, said: “Since the floods there has been little we can do with the former warehouse building as there is a problem with the fire exits.
“It is unusable at the moment and putting in a safe fire exit would cost a small fortune and not justify the money that would have to be spent on it.”
He added that he had spoken to Mrs Bradshaw about the plans.
He said: “We care about the town and we are happy to help Cockermouth in any way we can.”
First published at 12:41, Friday, 08 March 2013
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
Jordans jungle is the best place in cockermouth for the kids. How many more homes do you need????
You obviously do not care about Cockermouth or you would listen to the people that live and work there Mr Rockcliffe , directors only care about the money !!!