A councillor is calling on the government to launch a full public inquiry into housing development in Copeland.

Graham Roberts, town councillor and former mayor of Whitehaven, has written to James Brokenshire MP, secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, asking for the official review.

The letter, which has been shown to The Whitehaven News, outlines several issues including possibly building houses without a revised local plan, as well as transport and safety and environmental issues.

Coun Roberts, who represents the Harras ward on Whitehaven Town Council, says: "It is very unclear as to the status of the local plan. This uncertainty has caused the community to question its validity."

A number of worried residents who live at Harras Moor in Whitehaven, have written in support of Coun Roberts' request, highlighting problems they feel have been overlooked by Copeland Council.

Outline planning permission was recently granted for nine self build plots on land next to Casa Mia, Harras Moor, which has been met with criticism by residents who live near the site.

Michael Gracey lives on Harras Road, and describes it as a "rat run".

He said: "If the council is not going to listen, we have got to do something. Copeland Council are allowing building here, there and everywhere. Whitehaven is going to be gridlocked before long.

"My biggest problem is where they build them. They don't look at the infrastructure. Nearly every planning application that goes in, there's objections about infrastructure. They need to start building houses out of town."

Ken Heddle, who lives at Burton High Close, said Coun Roberts should be applauded for speaking out and requesting a public inquiry.

He said: "I have witnessed many incidents over the years on Harras Road. Harras Moor has increasingly been the unfortunate recipient of excess traffic as the infrastructure of the town has found it difficult to contend with the demands."

Graeme Milligan, who also lives at Burton High Close, said: "There is an ever increasing speeding issue and traffic volume problem over Harras Road and there has been for many years. I have grave concerns for the welfare and wellbeing of residents and pedestrians, as well as the additional drivers travelling the now recognised Harras Moor rat run."

In the letter, Coun Roberts says there is a need for more homes, but these should be affordable to supply demand.

He goes on to say: "It would appear the proposed Moorside development and the geological disposal facility have stalled and that change in policy must now be addressed."

A spokesman for Copeland Council responding to questions about the Harras Moor development said: “All material planning matters were considered by our Planning Panel – including representations from Mr Roberts and residents at the planning meeting - and the application was deemed to be acceptable and was approved on that basis. Other than Whitehaven Town Council, no statutory consultees raised any objection.

“Copeland Council does have a Local Plan. It was adopted in 2013 and it guides our decision-making.”