Eden Council confusion over local planning.
Please read the articles below the horizontal line and then return to here.
It is pretty obvious that the local council does not understand the project to reopen the Penrith-Keswick Railway line.
1/ The council is very much out on a limb due to the hundreds of people who have not only pledged support to the project but also their money into the Bonds issue.
2/ The county council has to presume against any development which compromises the reopening of the railway.
3/ The feasibility of the project has already been confirmed by the County Councils engineers!
4/ Corus are doing the design work and will be long term partners on the project.
5/ The Business park and the railway could be mutually beneficial, the council seems to be playing off one against the other.
6/ The Council has no engineering qualifications whatsoever to make remarks about burrowing rabbits, trees through track beds, missing earthworks and bridges.
7/ The Bonds issue had been verified by Eversheds, a major national legal firm.
Certain members of the council are putting themselves out on a limb with ill informed and misguided comments.
The questions is WHY?
The Council need to be aware of the support for the project to reopen the Penrith-Keswick Railway. If you feel strongly about this then write to:
Eden District Council
Penrith, Cumbria CA11 7YG
Cumbria County Council
Carlisle, Cumbria CA3 8SG
Eden councillors put a decision on hold to alter planning policy in the Eden local plan which protects the route of disused railways.
They decided that they wanted to visit sites along the route of both the old Penrith to Keswick and Penrith to Appleby lines, to see if there is a possibility of them reopening.
Concerns were raised at an earlier meeting of the planning committee, when members were presented with a report about the effect proposals to reconstruction the Penrith to Keswick line could have on development at Flusco.
Councillors felt that some developments could be jeopardized by the policy when there was no real possibility of ever reinstating the line, as some parts had been dismantled.
Current planning policy states that development along the line of a disused railway will not be permitted if the use of the route for recreational purposes or the reopening of the railway are prejudiced.
However, it was suggested at a further meeting of the planning committee that this could be amended to not allowing development if either firm and viable proposals for reopening of the line or the use of the route for recreation purposes are prejudiced.
"Anyone who is making a proposal will claim that it is firm and viable" said Tim Fetherstonhaugh (Ind Kirkoswald) David Natrass (Ind Morland) who proposed the site visits said, " If you look at Wetheriggs there is no way you could see the railway being reinstated there and at Kirkby Thore there are trees growing up through the trackbed.
John Moffat (Ind Ullswater) added that embankments had been removed, cuttings filled in and the bridges removed since the railway lines were last used. Keith Morgan (Ind Appleby) suggested that the site visits should include looking at railways which had been reinstated as well as the route of Eden's former tracks.
LOCAL PLAN CONFLICT WITH RAIL LINE REINSTATEMENT
Eden Councillors are to review one of their planning policies after it emerged that it would contradict an existing planning consent along the route of the dismantled Penrith-Keswick railway.
Councillors were given an update on proposals to rebuild the line which are being spearheaded by CKP-Railways at a meeting of the planning committee on Thursday.
Director of planning services Graham Allan informed the council that an area of land to the west of Flusco which is dissected by the original path of the line was allocated for employment purposes in the Eden local plan and had outline planning permission for industrial developments, which predates the local plan.
However, he said there was also a policy RE7 which stated that development proposals along the line of a disused railway will not be permitted if the use of the route for recreational purposes or the reopening of the railway are prejudiced.
He added that a road bridge which used to go over the railway was demolished in the 1990's to give improved access to Flusco from the A66 already interrupted the path of the original track.
John Moffat (Ind Ullswater) said that he knew of 14 sandstone bridges which had been demolished along the route of this former railway.
Tony Brunskill (Ind Lazonby) said "I think its important that we keep an eye on it. It could be a major influence in the future as the roads clog up,. I support the principle of the railway being rebuilt. In terms of of the site we have we should look very carefully at this. Maybe it will never get built but my own view is that I would be more supportive of having a railway going across it than stick to the planning use.
However, Bryan Metz (Ind Alston Moor) said he was of the opposite view.
"I have never come across a more harebrained scheme than this. The whole this is ludicrous. The small railways are only successful when run by volunteers and they have short lengths of track which are easy to maintain. This is 18 miles and is going to have to be run as a full professional railway, which it says here will take £25 million to start. I cant see £25 million getting raised really. This one would rely entirely on tourists which would mainly be during the summer months. It is pie in the sky.
M<r Moffat said that the planning permission would have precedence over any future plans and suggested that there be a report to the committee on policy RE7.
David Natrass (Ind Morland) said it was difficult to trace the former track and that there would be three new crossings needed to reinstate it.
He said that he felt £25 million was an underestimate for the rebuilding and added that although he was not an engineer he could not believe that a track which had not been untouched since the 70's would not have been affected by burrowing rabbits and even tree roots.
HE said a feasibility study into the economic viability of reinstating the railway, commissioned by the Eden and county council some years ago said it could create more problems that it solved for Penrith and Keswick due to increased traffic.
Keith Morgan (Ind Appleby) said he did not object to re-examining policy RE7 but pointed out that there were similar commercial railways such as Oxenholme-Windermere line.
Mr. Brunskill added "I seem to remember these rash comments about harebrained schemes when we thought about using the Settle line again. We have to support tourism as well and this could be very supportive of that industry. The only thing that stops people coming to the lake district now is the perception that it is full and you cant get in. This would help that.
Mr. Natrass pointed out that the Carlisle-Settle line had never been closed.
Members agreed to send a letter to the owner and development company, informing them of the issues raised in the report, as well as reconsider policy RE7 at a future meeting.