• A reader's view on South Lakeland District Council's Planning policy

Since 1996 a number of residents of the Kentrigg area have been giving honest facts of the locality regarding flooding, ground water and surface conditions. The first public inquiry resulted in the 15.5ha area being halved and in 2000 Briery Meadows was built giving 200 houses.

During the last 10 years residents have further tried to influence the planning application for a further 200 units. An inquiry inspector deemed that the application should not go ahead until flooding and sewerage problems were resolved.

On Thursday the SLDC planning committee met to consider the application and granted the reduced 157 units after a short (one hour) and shallow debate. The ten member committee (two from Kendal) had one main concern as to whether they should adhere to the 35% affordable houses or the proposed 20% negotiated by officers and developers. Residents spoke with concern and eloquence regarding flooding, raw sewage in the streets and traffic sight lines from dwellings.

A number of applications in South Lakeland have had percentage reductions or affordable allocations removed altogether. What has gone wrong with SLDC local plan policies when they can just be waived at the whims of developers who say the application would not be financially viable? The local communities can have little confidence in a planning system which goes through the hoop of consultation and takes no notice of responses.