Read this extract of an investigation into Story Homes’ Strawberry Grange development – and if you want the full story buy Issue 5 of The Cockermouth Curiosity on sale now! To read this and more fascinating articles like this buy The Cockermouth Curiosity at the Moon & Sixpence, Sarah’s, Shills, JBBanks Ironmongers, The Trout Hotel, Percy House Gallery, Limelighting, Lorton Village Shop, and in Great Broughton, the Bakehouse and Post Office.
The site is magnificent. The first phase of Story Homes’ development at Strawberry Grange commands lovely views south to the North Lakes peaks. The houses are close to Cockermouth’s renowned specialist shops, cafes and restaurants. On the face of things the plot is an estate agent’s dream. A visitor might worry that the new estate is bisected by a deep gorge. But on a sunny day the small stream gurgling at the bottom of the valley seems innocent enough. Also, the salesman reassuringly says the space will be kept as a lovely “Blue Corridor” for recreation, not residence. Story Homes is building 96 dwellings in phase one of the project. And it has just applied for permission to build 224 more in the second phase on a noticeably higher plot. Allerdale Borough Council is expected to give its decision by July. So it’s a good time to reflect on why Strawberry Grange has become one of the most passionately-opposed building projects ever launched in Cumbria. Campaigners led by Cockermouth author Judy Whiteside have written formally to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid MP demanding he scrap phase two, because it would “significantly increase flooding in the town.” No fewer than 875 households – more than one in 10 residents of Cockermouth – have objected to the project. The reason for concern is no mystery. Catastrophic floods in 2009 left 1,400 people homeless for months after the fast-flowing Derwent and Cocker Rivers burst their banks submerging Main Street below 8 feet of water. A second flood in 2015 saw water levels reach 4.5 feet. That time an estimated 700 homes and businesses were washed out despite the installation of a £4.4 million self-raising flood barrier system part-funded by residents. Yet promised Environment Agency works to mitigate future devastation have hardly got off the drawing board. Naturally residents want to stop developments that might cause a repeat. Many were mystified when in December 2014 Allerdale approved the first phase of Strawberry Grange. The reason is the thing the salesmen call the “Blue Corridor” is actually a Level 2 Flood Zone, “normally” expected to flood between once a century and once in a thousand years.
Just to let Cockermouth know that Story Homes have submitted plans for 224 houses on the hill side of Slate Fell. Go to Allerdale Borough Council web sites search Planning applications and put in ref number 2/2018/0155 to have a look at what they want to build. If you feel that 224 is more houses than this town needs please Object.site plan 1site plan 2
We had a bit of rain last night and today and Tom Rudd beck did what it always does, inspite of Story homes constantly saying that it doesn’t flood.
Not a Flood Zone
See The Otters of Tom Rudd Beck Facebook page or our’s and see a video of Tom Rudd Beck Not Flooding.
The Youth Hostel Double Mills is to be sold, which is fine as it would be good thing so this land mark of the town isn’t lost, but what is concerning is the beach area at the former youth hostel is to be sold off by Cockermouth town council. No longer will it be a local public resource for bathing and leisure on sunny days.
A definitive footpath map showing the path past the former youth hotel and beyond.
Cockermouth Town Council has applied for a stopping order to prevent members of the public from reaching the river at this popular local beauty spot. You can protest by contacting the Highways Dept. of CCC and saying you object to the application for a stopping order in respect of footpath no. 223020. Email email@example.com giving your reasons for objecting.
Surely this should be decided at an open council meeting, where the people of Cockermouth can have a say. Maybe a protective covenants should be put in place to keep open a public right of way to the river bank and beach area for the people of Cockermouth.
Strawberry How, Tom Rudd beck and the pathways around there have been restricted and closed by devlopers without consulation. Lets not let this happen again.
Map showing footpath
Yesterday the Planning panel gave Story Homes permission to discharge surface water from their site at Strawberry How Cockermouth directly into the Tom Rudd Beck without even establishing a limit on the volume. Tom Rudd Beck is a fast rising beck that goes into the River Cocker then on into the River Derwent. They got the original planning permission on the strength that they would follow the Environment Agency guidelines of keeping surface water on site to slowly drain into the beck.
This amendment was deliberately place in among other more minor amendments that Story homes were applying for. Meaning that Councillors couldn’t vote on each amendment separately, as one Councillor wanted to. So the vote was 5 for and 5 against with the Chair again having the casting vote, which no surprise he cast in favour of Story Homes. This now means that Story Homes have carte blanch to handle the surface water however they wish to protect their development.
We had a good summer last year and possibly the driest winter ever, my warning is they haven’t seen anything yet, not to mention what is going to happen when they start building 224 houses on fields Slate Fell side of the beck, as they kept reminding everyone they already have permission for.
Back to the beck, it is lovely little river full of wild life including Otters, for now. To know how things are with the area please follow The Others of Tom Rudd Beck on Facebook.
Please see our Facebook page for an article and video from Otters of Tom Rudd Beck Facebook page or just go straight to their page. It has lots of lovely footage of the wildlife in and around Tom Rudd Beck including Otters.
This contamination is something we feared was going to happen and in fact highlighted it in our article ‘ Oh it rained today ‘ The wonderful wild life of the Beck will not fair well if this continues.
This will not end if Story Homes get the go ahead to build 224 more houses on the Slate Fell fields. Planning Application not in yet, so watch this space.