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Friday, 01 August 2014

Dalston new homes scheme to be reconsidered by council

A controversial planning application which could see 121 new homes built in Dalston will be reconsidered this week following claims of intimidation.

Planners deferred a decision in June for the proposed development of land between Station Road and Townhead Road, pending further reports about a stone barn and wall.

The plans provoked outrage from villagers who drew heavy criticism from councillors for their use of alleged intimidation tactics – while protestors claimed behind the scenes deals.

Residents confronted Carlisle City Council’s Development Control Committee on a site visit ahead of June’s meeting.

Since then, the reports have been completed and will be discussed again on Friday.

Councillor Willie Whalen said that a majority of people in Dalston were “quite sensible” and it was one or two people who were “stirring things up”.

He said: “It could be a legal matter – it got quite near to the wire last time. It was sheer intimidation.”

Mr Whalen said: “They are not going to impress anyone with abuse and threats – it is just not on..”

The development had been recommended for approval last time and residents packed into the council chamber. So far the application has drawn 74 responses – including one petition against the plan – with two responses in favour and 66 against.

Objections include: increased traffic, destruction of a greenfield space and that the impact of 125 houses would be too great.

Jenny Baines, who lives in Nook Lane Close, felt the number of homeswould have a large impact on the area – especially regarding traffic, schools and utilities.

She added: “I feel that there are far too many four to five bedroom houses in the plans.”

Dalston parish council has also contacted the city council on several occasions this year to confirm that members recommended the plan be refused.

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