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Eden District Council
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Penrith New Squares

Where to get the latest information online about Penrith New Squares

Penrith New Squares website has the latest information about Penrith New Squares. PFK's website has details of the residential properties that are for sale.

Public and Media Enquiries about Penrith New Squares

Sainsbury's has appointed Local Dialogue to deal with the media management and community liaison aspects of the development. A free phone telephone number: 0800 319 6162 is available during work hours for people to contact for more information about Penrith New Squares.

Penrith New Squares - background, aims and objectives

What are the schemes aims?

The Penrith New Squares development is an extension to Penrith's existing town centre. The scheme is a mixed use development meaning that there will be housing, a multi-storey car park and retail on the site.

It is intended that the scheme will provide benefits to the existing town centre by drawing more people into the area and reverse the trend of people travelling to other centres to do their shopping. Housing will also be provided on the site which will be a mixture of affordable housing and open market housing. This is a particularly important element of the scheme as there is a constant need for more affordable housing in the area.

The Council's Chief Executive, said: "Penrith New Squares is Eden's economic future. The increased number of shops means more people spend money in the District. The town centre development with its enhanced retail offer, multi storey car park, new jobs and affordable homes would limit the threat from new out of town developments for existing businesses."

Why choose Southend Road as the development site?

The area around Southend Road in Penrith was first identified as a site for a potential retail development in 1996. Around that time a number of developers were exploring the possibility of a new major food store and this led to the Council commissioning a retail viability and vitality study to determine whether there was demand for a new food store. These studies confirmed the demand and provided the original justification for a new major development.

In 1999 the Council, as the Local Planning Authority, approved the first planning brief for the site. We also carried out a 'sequential' planning assessment to consider which site could best satisfy this planning brief.

The sequential test first considered any available town centre sites and then moved on to look at 'edge of town centre' sites. If no suitable sites had been identified then this would have opened the way for an 'out of town' site. This exercise identified the Southend Road area as a site which could reasonably accommodate the development and provide the basis for extending the existing town centre.

This approach clearly helped to ensure that this development was delivered in the way which best supported the existing town centre.

The scheme was then subject to the full rigours of competition and this process led to the appointment of a developer on 20 March 2003. Subsequent to this decision, Sainsbury's were appointed as the food store operator for the scheme.

After much discussion with the Council, the scheme was refined and a raft of legal agreements binding the developer and the Council were signed on 1 November 2005.

A Planning Application was submitted very soon thereafter and this was eventually approved.

Following Planning Consent, land acquisition and other approvals the final agreements became unconditional on 3 June 2008 and, at that time, we entered into the long term leases for the site. Also at that time contracts were awarded for the construction of the development.

Why Penrith New Squares is so important?

The scheme has a long and complex past but it is important to note:

  • The original demand which underpins the justification for the scheme has increased over the years and the 'need' for the scheme is greater today than it has ever been;
  • The town centre will benefit the greatest from the development being based on the site at Southend Road. Any removal or loss of this site would open the door to an 'out of town' development which would potentially be very damaging to the town centre.