CONTROVERSIAL plans for a budget superstore on the outskirts of Cockermouth have been knocked back for a third time - prompting an outcry from supporters.

Allerdale Council’s development panel threw out proposals for a B&M Homestore on Low Road amid claims the development would spoil Cockermouth’s character and lead to a loss of precious employment land.

These were the same reasons given when the panel threw out the application in July 2018, although developers had made some adjustments to the original plans.

The day before the meeting, council leader Alan Smith was presented with a 721-name petition in support of the application.

The petition had been organised by Bekah Bragg, of Slatefell.

"Everyone is gutted, we all feel let down," she said.

"At the end of the day these people have made a decision without listening to all of those Cockermouth people who supported this plan.

"I think this will definitely rock the boat when it comes to voting in local elections later this year because people feel their views have been ignored.

"I have never voted before but I will do this time, it's the only way we can make a difference."

The town’s chamber of trade, civic trust and town council all opposed the development, with representatives for each speaking at the meeting.

Concerns included the loss of employment land, the impact on Cockermouth town centre, the felling of trees and traffic congestion.

They were all pleased with the outcome but stressed that they would support a B&M Homestore in the town centre.

Joan Ellis, Allerdale councillor for Cockermouth, told the panel that “many” of her constituents were opposed to the plans.

Following the meeting she said: "I am pleased that the Development Panel refused this application. This is the wrong development in the wrong place.

"I commend Bekah on her petition, which has identified a need in the town, but the Low Road site is out of town and is a brownfield site where we need high tech, low volume production with meaningful jobs, careers and apprenticeships for local people."

Town councillor Alan Tyson said: "Everybody I know has expressed the opinion that they would not object to such a store in the town centre."

He spoke of the need for more jobs. "There are lots of exciting opportunities in science and technology and we should providing these jobs in town so that young people do not have to go elsewhere," he said.

Civic trust chairman Phil Campbell said: "Whilst the trust has no problem with B&M having a presence in Cockermouth, this proposal was of the wrong size and in the wrong place.

"We were very concerned about the impact that a large out of town store would have had on the independent shops in our town centre, which are already under threat.

"We also believe that Cockermouth as a growing town is very short of quality employment opportunities."

Chamber of trade chairman Andrew Marshall said: "We need to keep things in the town centre, it's a small market town and that's what we have to keep it as."

A spokesman for Opus North said “We are disappointed that councillors voted against the recommendation of planning officers, despite a lot of local support for the scheme. We have listened to the what the committee had to say and are considering our position.”

An appeal has already been lodged against the previous refusal.