CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 370 homes in Whitehaven have been re-submitted, nearly three years after the scheme was knocked back by councillors due to road safety fears.

Members on Copeland’s planning panel went against their own officers’ advice and were minded to refuse the application for a major housing development on land at Harras Moor in September 2019.

Traffic and safety issues were cited by councillors, and the application was deferred.

The homes would be built on 23 hectares of land surrounded by the Highlands, Hillcrest and Red Lonning housing estates.

Vehicle access would be via Harras Road and Caldbeck Road.

A final decision on the plans is still due to be made.

Developer Homes England say they have been working with the council and other stakeholders to address the concerns that were raised at the last meeting.

An independent review of the highway reports submitted with the plans has been carried out by a transport consultancy firm, which found the reports were “sufficiently detailed” and “consistent with best practice”.

The review concluded that the development “will not lead to unacceptable highways impacts” and therefore, “there are no justified highways grounds for refusing the application”.

'They will be jammed in like sardines'

But those opposed to the scheme are still concerned about the impact that increased traffic would have on the surrounding infrastructure and a number of objections have already been submitted to Copeland Council.

Graham Roberts, who represents Bransty on Cumbria County Council, said: “The traffic will still be untenable. Access is the main thing. The drainage is still an issue and overcrowding. It will be so crowded up there.

“Harras Road cannot cope with that amount of traffic. It’s not acceptable. The road is overloaded now at peak times. The whole thing will be unthinkable.

“370 is far too many. They will be jammed in there like sardines. It’s just not on.”

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Ryan Parrish, a resident at Hillcrest, said: “The main concern is the already unsuccessful road infrastructure on our estate.

“School and rush hour traffic is unbearable and one side of most roads is already used as parking for residents.

“With over 300 new homes and the opening up of Caldbeck Road at the top end onto Harras Road, you are asking for a serious accident to occur.

“The existing junction is already dangerous and there have been multiple accidents in the past. This is almost certainly going to become a new rat run.

“We will also lose our last remaining green space on the estate, to the detriment of existing residents. Other neighbours have also commented about drainage onto Hillcrest and the already inadequate drainage.”

'Highways impacts will be addressed'

A spokesperson for Tetra Tech, agent for the developer, said: “Homes England has submitted revised plans and technical documents in support of its planning application for 370 new homes at Harras Moor, Whitehaven.

“Copeland Borough Council is currently seeking views from residents and other stakeholders on the revised plans. Homes England has worked collaboratively with officers from Copeland Borough Council on the scheme to make sure that supporting infrastructure is in place and that impacts of the scheme can be mitigated appropriately.

Whitehaven News: RE-SUBMITTED: The original plans for 370 homes at Harras Moor in WhitehavenRE-SUBMITTED: The original plans for 370 homes at Harras Moor in Whitehaven

“In particular, Homes England has engaged extensively with Cumbria County Council and National Highways, to make sure that highways impacts will be addressed.

“In addition to providing a broad mix of house types, the proposed development will deliver 15 per cent affordable homes on site, at least 7.1 ha of publicly accessible open space (including play areas), biodiversity enhancements and a contribution to local sporting facilities.”

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