A massive housing development which would see nearly 200 homes built near Whitehaven has been slammed by the community.

Residents and councillors have raised concerns over the scheme to build 194 new houses on land between the Summergrove estate and Westlakes Science Park.

Reiver Homes, a division of Story Contracting, wants to create the “attractive”, “high-quality” estate on two fields to the south west of Summergrove.

The Carlisle-based developer has lodged an outline planning application with Copeland Council.

They say the 8.35 hectare site will provide a “landmark development opportunity”, to showcase their new house type range.

But there are fears it would increase traffic, have an impact on public services and the access to Westlakes Science Park.

Graham Roberts, mayor of Whitehaven, has described Copeland Council's approach to planning as "cavalier" and said he was concerned that there is no local plan.

"As mayor of Whitehaven I am concerned that this random and irrational house building will result in little or no green areas of the town left. This is being echoed by residents of the town.

"Some thought has to be given to housing. Before we build too much more we have got to get this five year plan. This matter needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

"Summergrove is a lovely development but I do hope they have factored in an equation for some affordable houses. It's so important that young people can get on the property ladder."

Graham Calvin, the newly elected councillor for Bigrigg and Moor Row, said: "I think there will be a massive traffic problem. With 194 houses there could be up to 300 extra cars. We have already had a problem in Moor Row. It's going to exacerbate the problems we've already got."

Residents have taken to social media to criticise the plans.

Jon Eaton said: "Wrong development! The land should be earmarked for an expansion of Westlakes to bring new jobs to the area and connect Summergrove to Westlakes."

Rob McDonald wrote: "How would this impact on doctors, schools and other services? Can the roads surrounding the area handle more traffic?"

Craig White posted: "Absolute joke. This with the new 600 car park using it as a rat run, is a disaster. Since the Keekle Meadows development and others, getting out of Keekle junction is a nightmare, which often backs up. That road is not designed for an extra circa 400 cars."

The proposed development would include a mix of two-to-five bedroom properties, with some affordable housing.

Access to the estate would be from Dalzell Street, south of Galemire Veterinary Hospital, with a second access point from the Summergrove estate.

Properties would be allocated between two and three parking spaces.

A village green could be created in the centre of the development, with the possibility of incorporating a children’s play area.

The former quarry, which forms part of the site and cannot be built on, would be transformed into an ecological park with walking routes within it.

There would also be improved cycle and pedestrian links. Green edges would be retained to create buffer zones to neighbouring developments.