Landmark Decision

24 homesLack of affordable housing prompts council to reject new homes scheme – Headline from News & Star Wednesday 3rd July On Thursday July 2nd the Allerdale Development Committee unanimously turned down the Lorton Road (Rugby Club) plan for 24 homes, proposed by Rockford Holdings Ltd. This was a victory for local people and their right to an opinion. Our local councillors listened and heeded what was said and put our community’s needs ahead of a developer’s profit margin. It is good to know that when push comes to shove our elected councillors do listen and acted accordingly. The Sustainable Cockermouth Group see this as a victory for common sense – particularly as the developer was trying to back out of the requirement to build affordable housing. We do need to continue to be vigilant as they intend to appeal this decision and are unlikely to give up easily. The reaction of Darren Ward, the agent for Rockford Holdings Ltd, was interesting: “We are left with no other recourse but to appeal which we’ll do as quickly as we can and we’ll apply for costs because this is costing my client a lot of money for which Allerdale will pay at the community’s loss” . In my opinion, and that of others present at the meeting, this sounds like a not very well veiled threat against the residents of Cockermouth. The issue of what constitutes ‘affordable’ and what demand there is in the Cockermouth area is vitally important. As the average yearly wage in Allerdale is around £17,000, the suggested house cost would need to be near to £50,000 – a price I doubt most developers would be willing to market at.

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