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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Plans for 24-home Cockermouth estate are withdrawn

Controversial plans for a 24-home estate on Cockermouth’s Lorton Road have been withdrawn.

Rockford Holdings wanted to build the houses on land currently used as tennis courts and car parking at Grassmoor Sports Centre.

But yesterday it revealed that it had withdrawn those plans and was drawing up a new scheme of five houses for a smaller part of the site, on land which it owns.

The firm had pledged to upgrade sports facilities, including providing better rugby pitches and tennis courts, but Allerdale council threw out the plans three times.

The authority said the estate must include affordable housing, but Rockford Holdings said it would not be financially viable to do so. It appealed to the Government against the decision.

As part of the appeal, a government inspector requested that a legal agreement be signed by all landowners and the council by October 8, setting out responsibilities for maintenance of drainage and public areas. That deadline was missed, although an extension was requested.

A spokesman for Rockford Holdings said: “This was a mutually beneficial arrangement.

“We would have given the rugby club financial support and given ourselves the opportunity to construct 24 contemporary houses in a desirable part of Cockermouth.

“Rockford still own a parcel of land at the site and propose to develop this part of the site without any of the improvements to the rugby club.”

Steve Stainton, chairman of the junior section of the rugby club, said: “We allowed them to go for permission and although we had seen the basic plans we hadn’t seen the detail.

“We will still be a strong club.”

Chris Lockyer, chairman of Cockermouth Tennis Club, said: “The development concept was a great idea.

“If the appeal finds in its favour it’s up to Rockford Holdings as to the next step.”

But the firm’s agent, Darren Ward, of Red Raven Design, said that even if the current appeal was successful the 24 homes would not go ahead.

Mr Ward said: “It is disappointing that the original scheme cannot be developed.

“It’s a shame for the club, but I think some committee members did not understand the complicated arrangement.

“Developing the smaller site will be much simpler.”

Rockford Holdings applied in 2010 for planning permission for 28 homes, which was turned down by the council and a planning inspector.

In 2011, the firm submitted revised plans for 24 homes, including sports facilities.

Its appeal failed because of the lack of affordable housing.

Have your say

So what's the end result, some houses still get built, the sports club lurches towards insolvency, and Storeys laugh all the way to the bank with one less reason to resist their 'solution' to the housing needs of Cockermouth.

Posted by Rackett on 22 October 2013 at 14:56

this is why sports clubs and other groups have better facilities out of this county, people around here live in the dark ages lets have some progress around here!!!!!

Posted by albert on 22 October 2013 at 12:11

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