Plans have been lodged for another major housing development in the north of Carlisle.

And proposals tabled this week for an 86-home estate at Deer Park, Belah, have already raised concerns amid fears of over-development in the area.

Ward councillor Gareth Ellis, who is also the city council’s deputy leader, has also raised numerous fears about the loss of another of the city’s attractive green spaces to urban sprawl.

The planning report submitted on behalf of Gleeson Homes, however, described the land north of the city centre as a “disused and overgrown field”.

And in their supporting statements, agents PFK Land and Development said that it was “close” to schools, shops and community facilities.

Their report concludes that the surveys undertaken have “not identified any significant” issues that would prevent building on the site, adding that steps would be taken to “protect and retain” natural features “wherever possible”.

But Mr Ellis warned of increased traffic and a corresponding strain on services and infrastructure.

He said: “Kingmoor Road is going to get busier and busier and there is a lack of primary school provision in the area.

“This will be resolved by the county council building a new school on their designated site, but they won’t build it until they get the proceeds [contributions from the developer].

“You are going to get extra traffic on the roads, extra pressure on the schools – and you get to the point when you ask ‘How much development do you really need in the north of the city, and how much pressure do you need on local services in infrastructure?’”

Mr Ellis claimed that the piece of land should never have been earmarked for housing in the city council’s local plan in the first place.

It is bounded by two wildlife habits – the Kingmoor Nature Reserve and the Kingmoor Sidings – and he said this too should have been left as a haven for plants and animals.

“We are losing part of our green area which is important to this area and part of the reason why this is such a lovely place to live,” he added.

He also stressed that the area is boggy and absorbs water which would otherwise cause “runoff”, leading to possible flood problems elsewhere.

However, according to the report and flood risk assessment, the development “will not increase flood risk elsewhere” and will even lead to a “betterment” of the situation.

The houses mooted for the site include a range of low cost two and three-bedroom family homes, “providing opportunities for buyers to get on the housing market and other to move up the ladder.”

As part of the plans an access road with a junction onto Kingmoor Road would be created “capable of serving up to 100 dwellings”.

According to the planning report, the road layout on the estate itself has been designed to be “pedestrian and cycle-friendly”.

Several trees on the 10-acre site are protected by a Tree Preservation Order.

Under the plans those which are in “good condition” would not be felled and would form “important landscape features within the scheme”, with added scope for new planting. A “landscape buffer” would also be left between the new homes and the neighbouring wildlife sites, forming a corridor for plants and animals.

Mr Ellis also urged members of the public who were concerned about the development to contact him so he can take up the issue on their behalf.

Fellow ward councillor David Morton said the infrastructure “wasn’t particularly good” in the area but acknowledged the need for social housing.

He said: “Whether Kingston Road is intended to be a regular route to the (city) bypass is debatable, but it is close to the bypass and a lot of people do use it as a rat run.

“The school issues north of the river are well-documented – and there has been a shortage of space.

“I don’t think it is quote as critical as it was, but the more houses they build here, the greater the demand for school accommodation and school places.

“And whilst there are plans for a school on the Persimmon estate that hasn’t reached fruition yet.”

Councillor Helen Davison, who also represents the ward, pledged to make sure that local people’s views and concerns were listened to.

She is now studying the plans in a bid to gauge the possible impact of the development and whether or not it is being driven by an actual need.
PFK and Gleeson Homes have both been approached for comment.