Plans for nearly a dozen new homes in Cleator Moor have been halted after council planning committee members voted against their approval, in opposition of recommendations from council officers.

Copeland Borough Council's planning panel resolved by four votes to three to recommend against approving outline plans for 11 new homes on land adjacent to Trumpet Road in Cleator Moor.

This balance of opinion ran against the recommendations from Copeland Borough Council's planning officers, who concluded that outline planning permission should be granted, stating that the homes would help meet an identified housing need in the town.

As such, the application will be deferred, and return to the council's planning panel at its next meeting on March 17.

The site on which the homes are proposed to be built is a greenfield site on the edge of Cleator Moor.

Outline planning permission for 11 homes on this land has previously been refused, with a number of reasons given including that the proposed development would "partially obscure locally important views of the westernmost fells of the Lake District".

While the outline plans do not contain details on the configuration of the proposed homes, council officers expect the "majority" to have least three bedrooms, based on the "housing needs of the area".

Council officers concluded that the addition of the homes to Cleator Moor would on balance be of benefit to the town, noting that Cleator Moor has a "large proportion" of terraced and flat accommodation.

As a result new family homes would be "welcome" to "attract new people into the area and officer choice to existing residents".

Planning officers have concluded that "in overall terms", while "conflicts are identified" between the proposal and existing planning policies, it is "considered that these conflicts are collectively not sufficiently harmful to significantly and demonstrably outweigh the identified benefits of the development".

These are described as including: "the provision of housing to meet the needs of the settlement [and/or] borough; boosting the economy of the settlement [and/or] borough including the provision of jobs during construction; and supporting local services", when assessed against the policies in the National Planning Policy Framework "taken as a whole".

The outline plans for the new homes were met with significant public opposition.

A total of 103 objections were sent to the council in relation to the proposed development, arguing that the development "comprises urban sprawl", and would "erode the green space" between Cleator and Cleator Moor.

Objectors also argued that the plans conflict with existing planning policies, among a number of other concerns.

While three members of the panel voted in favour of approving the outline plans, they were outnumbered by those who voted against the proposal.

One of those who voted against approving the plans was Cleator Moor councillor Joan Hully.

She described it as a "difficult decision", but concluded that the construction of the 11 homes on the proposed site would be "detrimental to the area".

Distington, Lowca and Parton councillor Jackie Bowman also voted against the proposals. She said: "I honestly don't think there's a need for this type of houses in that area."

Moor Row and Bigrigg councillor Graham Calvin was the third to vote against the proposal, and agreed with Mrs Hully that the construction of these homes would be "so detrimental to that whole area, for the sake of 11 houses".

Hillcrest councillor Brian O'Kane was the fourth to vote against the proposal. He added that he had concerns over the proposals in relation to traffic safety in the area. "It was a careful decision based on the evidence presented to us," he said.