A FORMER district councillor has blasted Cumbria County Council for being too Carlisle-focused.

Joss Curwen, who represented Broughton on South Lakeland District Council for nearly three decades, said projects in the south of the county are often over-looked in favour of those in the north.

However, Cllr Stewart Young, the leader of CCC, dismissed the claim and said his position was dependent upon support from councillors across Cumbria - support that, he says, is dictated by policies not being too focused on any one area.

"Anything they want at Carlisle, they seem to get, and it’s not good enough for people down in the south of the county," said Mr Curwen, who represented the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, and also sat as an independent.

Mr Curwen, who lives between Broughton and Kirkby-in-Furness, felt that Carlisle schemes were prioritised above those targeting other areas of the county.

He compared the completed Carlisle Northern Development Route - designed to reduce congestion through the city centre - with a plan for a carriageway between Chapels and Grizebeck, near Kirkby, which is yet to be constructed.

Mr Curwen says both projects were being discussed many years ago but feels one took precedence over the other because of its relevance to a bigger and more populous area in Carlisle.

"They might think that we’re down here and we don’t know anything, but we’re watching them, we’re watching them all the time,” he said.

Cllr Young rebuffed the criticism and stressed that schemes such as the Northern Development Route were dependant upon funding from HM Treasury.

“The treasury assess these schemes on value for money, and there’s a strong emphasis on how many jobs are going to be created, and how it will contribute to reducing congestion," he said.

“We’re competing for funding with other local authorities across the whole of England.

"We think we have congestion sometimes in Cumbria but, believe me, we don’t compared to the other, more-populated areas.

“The Grizebeck scheme, I’m as disappointed as Joss that it has taken so long, we’ve only recently had the funding approved for that.

“That scheme isn’t going to create a lot of jobs and it’s very hard to make the case for these schemes.”