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Controversial Grange planning application given the go ahead
Updated 10:21am Monday 3rd March 2014 in News
A SPRAWLING housing estate is to be built in a South Lakeland town despite fears it could lead to flooding and a fatality on the roads. A 42-home development in Grange has been rubber-stamped by the district council’s planning committee, despite it being branded ‘a recipe for disaster’ by the leader of the town’s council, Tom Harvey. “You cannot put a price on safety,” he told the committee. “We support development but we need housing that is affordable and enhances the area where it is built and doesn’t impact on the surrounding area. “But this is neither.” The development will be located off Allithwaite Road and will include 14 ‘affordable’ homes. It will be a mixture of bungalows, terraces and larger detached and semi-detached homes described as ‘bland’, ‘alien’ and ‘uneconomical’ by some district council planners. Hundreds of residents sent letters of objection to the district council ahead of the meeting, raising concerns about the suitability of the site, with issues including a percieved lack of visibility on the road at the entrance to the estate. “I’m sure it’s likely someone will be seriously injured or killed on the main road,” said Susan Jackson, of nearby Cardrona Court. “We hired a highways consultant and he proved it was a very dangerous road with speeds ranging between 35.6 and 44.3mph. “If a mum and her children were crossing and a car came along at that speed there’s no way it would be able to stop.” Several also said developers, Russell Armer, had not put up a good enough drainage plan - and nearby homes could be at risk of flooding. “They simply don’t know what will happen and are hoping for the best,” said Coun Harvey. At the planning meeting, held controversially in Kendal rather than Grange, the application was discussed for around three hours. Coun John Holmes moved to refuse the application, saying it would be ‘too much of a risk’. “We’ve got a proposed drainage system that might work. Clearly it also might not,” he said. But the motion was later defeated and it was proposed the application be accepted, subject to conditions. “Sometimes our hearts can get in the way of our heads,” said Coun Mary Wilson. “But if we let our hearts rule we wouldn’t make very good decisions.” Speaking after the meeting, Coun Harvey told the Gazette he was ‘astonished’ the committee came to the decision it did. “Nearly every councillor spoke at the meeting about how they echoed our thoughts over the serious drainage concerns,” he said. “Those councillors opposed to the application gave very clear and reasoned arguments against, whereas those voting it through seemed to do so on the basis that they had no other option.” He added: “It didn't show some of our elected representatives in the best light.”
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