Plans to build a sludge treatment facility to provide additional water to West Cumbria have been withdrawn.

The proposal, submitted by United Utilities, outlined an on-site management of “sludge” produced during treatment processes of raw water at Williamsgate Water Treatment Works (WTW), in Cockermouth.

Work would include creating the sludge treatment building, sludge holding tanks, a transformer/HV switch compound and security fencing.

With the majority of West Cumbria’s water supply coming from Ennerdale Water and Thirlmere Reservoir, under the West Cumbria Supplies Project (WCSP), it is stated in the plans that the development would aid in providing an alternative source of drinking water for the area.

The 27.5 hectare water treatment centre is currently in the process of developing its site to achieve this, and, once complete, Williamsgate WTWwill be able to efficiently treat raw water taken from Thirlmere, running it through two stages of filtration.

Water would initially go through “backwashing” – a form of cleaning – before being put through a Lamella clarification system, to separate unwanted particles from the liquids.

The proposed sludge treatment development would then be responsible for the leftover Lamella “particulate matter”, or “sludge”, had the plans been approved.

In the planning statement, the applicant stated: “The design of the proposed sludge treatment facility has been developed in accordance with the design principles embodied in the wider works and is appropriate within the context of the surrounding rural agricultural landscape.

“Subject to the implementation of the landscape scheme for the wider works, it is not considered that the development would result in any adverse impact upon landscape character or visual amenity.”

They added that there are no negative environmental impacts expected should the plans be given the go-ahead, including ecology, traffic, noise or odour, and for these reasons, the proposal should be accepted.

Although the plans have now been withdrawn, a spokesman for United Utilities confirmed they will be re-submitted in the near future – and so hopes remain high for the application.