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Thursday, 21 August 2014

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Developer grilled over Barrow housing fears

THE developer behind controversial plans for a 50-home estate was met with a number of concerns when they invited residents to learn more about the proposal.

Story Homes hosted the drop-in event at the Abbey House Hotel in Barrow yesterday. Staff explained in more detail the proposals for up to 50 new homes on greenfield land off Rating Lane.

Almost 1,500 people have signed a petition to stop the development next to Barrow Sixth Form College and leading to Furness Abbey, and numerous opponent attended to make their feelings known.

Opponents raised concerns over the development’s proximity to the abbey and traffic issues, with the college, Chetwynde and St Bernard’s schools all nearby.

Karen Taylor, of Inglewood, off Rating Lane, said: “We’re concerned about the impact on the abbey because it’s such a beautiful heritage site. Our other concern is traffic – it’s so congested in Rating Lane.”

Maureen Jones, who lives in the same street, said: “The traffic will be even worse because everybody will be trying to get out to work; that’s always been a problem and at 3pm, you just can’t get around. There are three schools, so the impact will only add to that.”

Fellow opponent Gill Jepson claimed the housing would damage the profile of the abbey as a visitor attraction and argued the plans would do nothing to mitigate existing flooding issues at the abbey. Story Homes is to submit a planning application to Barrow Borough Council this summer. The homes would be a mixture of detached and semi-detached homes to meet what the firm described as an increasing demand for executive housing.

David Hayward, Story Homes development planner, said the site was suitable, it was allocated in the council’s strategic housing list and would help satisfy a demand for housing in the borough.

He said: “The local authority is telling us there is a need for new housing. Barrow doesn’t have a five-year land supply so that’s an important factor. The site is allocated in the list of strategic housing sites and we are aware, through previous conversations with the council, that BAE Systems is lobbying for additional, high-end housing so workers from outside the area can live in the area and feed into the local economy.

“We need a traffic survey to understand what the impact is at peak times and we feel we can do things to mitigate against the impact, which will be minimal. We don’t feel it’s great enough to cause any adverse problems.”

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