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Friday, 24 October 2014

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Full town to have vote in Cockermouth planning law referendum

A planned referendum to allow Cockermouth townsfolk to decide if they want a relaxation in planning laws has been postponed.

Cockermouth was chosen for the pilot “neighbourhood development order” project by the Government in 2011.

Allerdale council announced last month that residents living in selected town centre streets would be invited to take part in the country’s first ever referendum on the matter on June 26.

But, after taking more advice from the Government, the council said this week that all Cockermouth residents will be able to take part in the vote.

Allerdale council’s executive will meet on Wednesday to decide the next step but said it had postponed the referendum date.

A “yes” vote could mean that key planning changes in the selected streets can be made without the need for council planning applications.

It is aimed at making it quicker and easier to alter certain buildings.

Allerdale council will run the poll, funded by the Government.

Ground-floor commercial properties in Market Place could be turned into restaurants, cafes or bars, and tables and chairs could be put outside for customers without formal planning approval.

Houses on Horsman Street, Derwent Street, New Street, Fletcher Street and the south side of Crown Street would be able to install timber front doors and sliding sash windows.

The changes to planning laws would also allow flats to be created above shops on Main Street and Station Street.

Shop fronts there could be replaced in line with approved design guidelines.

Cockermouth is the first town in the country to apply for the neighbourhood development order.

The town council and Allerdale council have spent more than three years on the project.

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