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We have objected to plans for an access track across common land at Newbiggin, near Penrith in Cumbria. The common is known as ‘public watering place’ and has a number of springs with a series of ancient stone troughs and culverts.
The common was featured in the Friends of the Lake District’s Our Green Space project which was also a runner-up for our 2012 Open Space Award.
Thomas Armstrong (Construction) Ltd wants to build affordable housing adjacent to the common and has applied for an access track across the common. The housing does not have planning consent, nor is the site allocated in the Eden Local Plan.
We object most strongly to this proposed degradation of the common. It is a unique area with its historic springs and troughs, and its wet meadow habitats have great ecological value. The area has been uncultivated through history and is now a lovely wild place where people can enjoy nature.
An access track will suburbanise the land and will probably set a precedent for others. It may not take up much space but it will have a disproportionately adverse effect on the common.
In the unlikely event that the proposed housing gets consent, the applicant can arrange matters so that the access track avoids the common. It is in any case regrettable that the applicant did not discuss this with us before charging ahead with the application.
Dacre Parish Council and the Friends of the Lake District are also objecting.