Strawberry How Development a very interesting article.

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.


Dissolution with Councillors and the system.

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.

Article from the News and Star website 8th March 2017

Have a read if you didn’t catch it in the newspaper today. Things that Story Homes deem acceptable, really aren’t.

Public turn out to view plans for 224 new homes on Cumbrian town estate

Public consultation by Story Homes for phase two of the development at Strawberry How, Cockermouth.
Sara and Stan Field from Cockermouth look over the plans
Pic Tom Kay Monday 6th March 2017 

Controversial plans for 224 new homes on a Cockermouth housing estate went on show in the town.

Eight-six people viewed the plans for Strawberry Grange, which is being built by Story Homes at Strawberry How.

Concerns were raised about flooding, traffic and the effect of such a big development on town services. Many people said there was no need for so many new homes.

The company already has full planning permission for 96 homes, which are being built on the estate, and outline permission for another 224.

It is preparing to submit detailed plans for those with outline permission.

A public exhibition was held at Saints Rooms, Kirkgate, as part of a two-week consultation process.

Sara Field, of Grayson Close, Cockermouth, attended with her father, Stan Field.

“I’m horrified, we do not need any more houses in town. These used to be beautiful green fields, so much hedgerow has been ripped out,” said Miss Field.

“I think everyone feels so jaded. We can all leave our comments but it will still go ahead, as it did last time.”

Mr Field, a retired architect, added: “They will create a flood risk for those downstream.”

Gillian Telford, of Cockermouth, said: “I’m very concerned about this development: the size, position and – this is my biggest concern – the impact it will have on our water courses.

“This will add to problems which already exist.”

Brian Mitchelhill, of Cockermouth, was also against the plans.

“I have never agreed with this development and think it will cause interminable traffic problems,” he said.

“I would ask all the parties involved to reconsider having a link road to the A66.”

Story Homes’ development planner Adam McNally was at the event.

“We have proven that the access off Strawberry How Road is acceptable.

“We did a thorough transport assessment and looked into its impact on the town infrastructure. The outcome was that there is enough capacity in the network,” he said.

“We will not be increasing the flood risk within the town. We have put a number of measures in place, such as the SUD ponds.

“This means the outfall from the site is certainly no worse than the existing situation.”

He said he felt there was demand for new homes. So far 658 people have signed up to the Strawberry Grange mailing list, and more than 100 people went to the showroom opening on Saturday.

People can view information about the plans and download comment forms on the Story Homes website.

News and Star 8 March 2017 11:05AM

Story Homes on the move again

Having ruined the environment at Strawberry How and destroyed the green fields, Story Homes are now after the fields on Slate Fell. Gone will be a great walk up Slate Fell across the field and the houses on Slate Fell Estate will join up with Strawberry How Rd. It will be houses as far as the eye can see.

There is a consultation meeting that Story are having in all saints rooms on 6th March 2017 regarding phase 2 strawberry Grange, they intend to put in a planning application for phase 2.




Oh it rained today

A few months ago United Utilities were checking the sewage drains and surface water drains on the Riverdale Estate because there was a rise in pollution levels in the river Cocker.

Today after just one day of heavier rain this was what was running off the development site at Strawberry How into Tom Rudd Beck then into the river Cocker maybe United Utilities should be investigates here. Isn’t this contamination of the river system. This didn’t happen until they started disturbing the ecology of the area.


At three o’clock today Tom Rudd was thundering through the Cemetery towards town.


Strawberry How, new Information!!

Amendments have been made to application   2/2016/0670

An “existing culvert” has been found going through the Railway Embankment, strangely enough in exactly the same place as the Berm that Story were applying to cut into the Railway embankment. They now want to reinstate it?

Either way a Berm cut or “Existing Culvert” reinstated, the out come is the same, more water flowing at speed into the Tom Rudd Beck instead of being held back and slowly seeping into the beck.

And what of further down stream?

384251storyorginalmap  389341storynewapplication

Have a look for yourselves.

Water, water everywhere.


Story Homes have at last it seems admitted there’s quite a lot of water in this area.

Planning amendment


Land Off
Strawberry How Road
Variation of condition 2 relating to approved plans on planning approval 2/2014/0381. Amendments are sought to the original scheme 

What this doesn’t say is that these amendments are all about removing surface water from and protecting the development. Go to the Allerdale website have a read, see where you think all the water is going to go. Look at amendment 73 for instance.

  In addition to the drainage schemes already approved they are proposing an extra cutting to allow excess surface water to flow directly into Tom Rudd beck. This means extra water will flow quickly and straight away when rainfall is heavy into Tom Rudd beck which then flows into the river Cocker and then the Derwent at a time when they themselves are likely to be very full and at risk of flooding. As the photos below show and locals know, excess water for decades has flooded the fields either side of the beck, that is what a flood plain does, it then holds the water and slowly releases into the beck.

Story Homes seem to be saying that the extent of flooding was only apparent following the December floods of 2015. This is untrue as detailed photographs were provided by objectors of the flooding on this site in the summer of 2014 prior to the planning meeting. This we were told by the developer had been taken into account. Also after heavyish rainfall in February 2015 this is what Story’s plot 76 and 77 looked like. (these photos and others were again shown to planning officers). Meetings were also held on site where this issue was detailed. The developer at this stage said this had been taken into account. By this application the developer has shown this was not the case.

 date taken 25.02.2015 bottom right

date taken 25.02.2015


date taken 07.03.2014

All this would go down the berm straight into Tom Rudd beck, see flood risk alleviation plan and what Story Homes say below

Strawberry How Development

Flood Risk Assessment Addendum 19-08-2016
Flood Risk Alleviation to North East Corner of Development

Existing Flood Risk:

During December 2015 the north eastern perimeter of the Strawberry How site suffered flooding from overland pluvial flows from the eastern field. The existing Tom Rudd Beck to the north also flooded but did not breach the existing bridle path embankment that bounds the northern perimeter of the site.

The pluvial flow from the eastern fields cut across the north east corner of the site near to where proposed plots 76 and 77 are to be constructed and travelled down the existing pedestrian former railway embankment gaining access to the watercourse.

Proposed Alleviation Measures:

Although the fluvial risk from the watercourse has been further mitigated by raising the proposed plot levels in that area, there is still potential for possible future pluvial flows from the east onto landscaped development site areas. The flows would potentially pond to the east of dwelling 76 and 77, causing a dam situation between the new and existing raised embankments.

To further mitigate the risk of possible future flooding from the pluvial flows the intention is to create a berm cutting approximately 1m wide within the existing pedestrian embankment. This will allow a through route and further safeguard the dwellings in that area by directing pluvial flows away from the development and to the northern side of the embankment gaining access towards the Tom Rudd Beck.

Please write and object to these amendments Story homes need to do more to protect the town not just their development.