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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Campaigners fear new Barrow homes plan could put abbey at risk

FEARS have been raised that historically important Furness Abbey Barrow could be in jeopardy if 50 homes are built on nearby farmland.

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OUTRAGED Campaigners who are opposed to planning proposals to build homes on fields close to Furness Abbey. They are pictured at the proposed site on the corner of Rating Lane and Manor Road, Barrow LINDSEY DICKINGS REF: 50058252B003

A campaign group has “massive concerns” for the ancient monument and vows to fight to stop houses being built on a greenfield site which is within 50 metres of one of England’s most significant monastery ruins.

Local history supporters and residents are outraged by the prospect of a 50-home development on the field between Manor Road and Barrow Sixth Form College.

The disgusted campaigners have serious concerns over initial plans released for housing within the Furness Abbey Conservation Area.

Opposers say it could increase flooding issues and put the structure of the ruins at risk.

Barrow Borough Council has received a screening opinion discussing building 50 houses on the 2.7 hectares of land which faces Barrow’s Rating Lane. It has been submitted on behalf of Story Homes Ltd and is not a planning application at this stage.

The documents with the council say a flood assessment will accompany a planning application.

Individuals from Furness Abbey Fellowship, other historical groups and residents have started a petition which gained at least 200 in just 24 hours. They are also sending letters to the council.

Gill Jepson, of Furness Abbey Fellowship, said: “Everyone who knows and loves the area will think this is an appalling idea. It’s ridiculous.

“We’ve got a lot of passion for Furness Abbey and there is a lot of strong local feeling against this. We are not going to let it go the same way other historical building sites have in this town.

“We will fight to the bitter end and we are very determined.

“There are already three becks on to the abbey site. This housing would cause terrible flooding.

“If there is more inundation of water it is going to compromise the structural work that has already been done. It could put Furness Abbey at risk.

“Furness Abbey is hugely important. It’s a really significant building nationally. It has had the most significant medieval monastery find in the last 50 years with the crozier.”

The silver-gilt crozier is due to return to Furness Abbey this year after a successful fund-raising effort.

English Heritage, which runs Furness Abbey, has been contacted by the Evening Mail but has not commented on the screening opinion. The council has yet to consult it.

Have your say

To be honest, I don't see how anybody in their right mind could even contemplate building houses on a greenfield site which is also agricultural land and within a conservation area! There are plenty of brownfield sites in Barrow to stick their tacky little boxes on!

Posted by Martin S. on 18 January 2014 at 16:25

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