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Preferred options FAQs

What is the purpose of the plan?

This document covers the years 2014 to 2032 and will guide new development by allocating land for housing, employment and open space. The document also includes new policies to help determine planning applications. The plan will replace all current development plan policy, including the Core Strategy, which was adopted in 2010.

Why has the plan been prepared?

We have a statutory duty to produce a plan. Preparing the plan also allows us to look at what is good about the district and what needs to be protected, what challenges the district may face in the future and what needs to be improved. The plan sets out a development framework which looks at the whole of Eden in the round. It will help attract and co-ordinate investment and infrastructure and sets out where we will, and will not, grant planning permission for new development.

What is the relationship between this consultation and neighbourhood plans?

Neighbourhood Plans are a new tier of planning which allow a local community to develop its own plan and have it formally adopted as planning policy. Once adopted (or 'made') the Neighbourhood Plan attains the same legal status as the Local Plan and, at this point, it becomes part of the statutory development plan. Applications for planning permission must be determined in accordance with the development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

The Upper Eden Neighbourhood Plan is currently the only Neighbourhood Plan which has been adopted in our area, although others are currently being developed.

Where is new development being focussed?

The majority of new development will be focussed in our four 'Main Towns', with any remaining allocations to be within the 20 'Key Hubs'. New housing and employment sites are allocated in these locations. The Key Hubs replace the local service centres identified in the Core Strategy.

The breakdown of new housing needed per area until 2032 is shown below:

Area Location Housing target
for duration of
Local Plan 2014-2032
Total Housing target
for duration of
Local Plan 2014-2032
Towns Penrith 1,800 2,520
Alston 144
Appleby 324
Kirkby Stephen 252
Rural Key Hubs 720 1,080
Villages and hamlets 360
All areas All locations (Housing required by 2032) 3,600 (Housing required by 2032) 3,600

This means a lot of it will be from people moving into the district (often to retire). Looking at the Government's population projections, we estimate that around eight and a half thousand people will move in between now and 2031, many of who are over 65 years of age. Some of it will be from people moving in to take up work. At least a further 1,500 jobs are forecast up to 2031 and we will need someone to do them. A very low unemployment rate and older (non-working) population means there are few people here to take up jobs.

The breakdown of new employment land is as follows:

Areas Specific Locations Area in hectares Total hectares allocated for job creations
Penrith Gilwilly Business Park 7.94 11.23
Skirsgill 3.29
Alston Skelgillside workshops 1.31 2.14
Bonds Factory 0.83
Appleby Cross Croft Industrial Estate 2.56 4.54
The Old Creamery 1.98
Kirkby Stephen Kirkby Stephen Business Park 5.5 5.5
Rural areas Old Tebay Depot 1.42 2.92
Brough Main Street 1.5
All areas All locations Total Hectares 26.33 Total Hectares 26.33

Can I download the housing sites to use in GIS?

Yes, the housing sites can be downloaded as a dataset from data.gov.uk Upon accessing this Licensed Data you will be deemed to have accepted the terms of the Public Sector End User Licence - INSPIRE.

What will you do with people's comments and what happens next?

We will consider all comments we receive and will publish details of how we have taken them into account. The next steps will depend on the results of the consultation. If no changes, or only minor changes are required, they will be incorporated into a 'Submission Version' of the plan. If major changes are required, or new sites submitted and selected, we are likely to consult on these.

Have there been any previous consultations?

Yes, previous rounds of consultation on housing and employment sites have been carried out.

We published an Issues and Options paper in 2007, which asked a series of questions about possible policies and sites and a further 'Alternative Sites' document in 2008, which presented additional sites submitted as part of the earlier consultation.

In Spring 2013, we consulted on 'Housing: Preferred Sites and Policies'. This consultation proposed the development of 2,792 houses up until 2025. Responses and alternative suggestions from this consultation have been incorporated into this consultation document.

In Summer 2013, we also consulted on 'Employment: Preferred Sites and Policies'. This consultation proposed the allocation of 50 hectares of employment land across the district.

Comments received as a result of the above consultation exercises have been taken into account in producing this consultation document.

Housing - frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How did the council select its preferred housing sites?

We collected together all the potential sites we were aware of. Sites outside the Main Towns and Key Hubs were excluded, because outside those areas only small scale housing which meets local demand should be considered. The remaining sites were subjected to an assessment against planning criteria and any with constraints, such as being prone to flooding, removed. Finally, we took a view on the availability of sites, whether the market is likely to bring them forward, and of the views of the people living and working in the district. A technical paper sets this out in more detail.

How much of the new housing will be affordable?

Our policies contain an aspirational target that 30% of all new housing in Eden will be affordable. Affordable, in this case, means it will be occupied by people who are unable to buy or rent on the open market and are in need of housing. The figure of 30% is the starting point for any negotiation with developers, but could be reduced if evidence demonstrated it would render a scheme uneconomic. We will also seek a higher percentage on unallocated sites in rural areas. All affordable housing will be secured by legal agreement and will be subject to a local occupancy clause.

Where are the people going to come from to occupy this new housing?

There are three main sources:

  • Some of it will be from people already here;
  • This is a long term plan and new households will form as people move from adolescence and want their own home, or they divorce and need additional housing;
  • There also around 420 people on our housing waiting list who potentially need more affordable or suitable homes. However, we also estimate that if no one moved in or out of Eden over the next 15-20 years the population would decline slightly – this is because we have an older population who may pass away earlier and are less likely to have children.

Does the consultation cover gypsy and traveller sites?

We have worked jointly with Cumbria County Council and the other districts to assess the need for Gypsy and Traveller sites. The current anticipated need is an additional 9 pitches by 2018. A provisional new site is allocated at Maidenhill, north of Penrith. However, if you think you know of any other suitable land, please let us know.

When will new housing be built?

When new housing will be built is partly down to the housing market, but we are required to set out phases when we think new housing will come forward and to make sure there is a steady supply over time. We would welcome any additional information from landowners and developers on this point.

Why do we need this number of houses?

There is considerable demand for new housing in Eden. The estimated need amounts to the equivalent of 200 new dwellings per year. This is due to a lack of affordable housing, a previous under-supply of housing and a growing and ageing population.

What other incentives are there for building new housing?

New house building can produce additional revenue and expenditure for local infrastructure and affordable housing through contributions from developers, additional Council Tax receipts and through the Government's New Homes Bonus which match-funds these Council Tax receipts for six years.

Why is so much housing proposed for Penrith?

Penrith is the biggest town in Eden. It contains the most services and has the best transport links and employment opportunities. In addition, there has been an under supply of housing in the town; of the 143 houses per year currently planned for Penrith, an average of just 33 per year have been built. Finally, we are keen to see the town prosper and getting new houses and jobs into the town is crucial to this.

What are Key Hubs and why is new housing being proposed for them?

Key Hubs are settlements which contain a range of services and facilities which make them suitable places to focus new development after the Main Towns. To be designated as a Key Hub, a village must have a daily public transport service to larger centres and include either a GP surgery or Primary School. There are currently 20 villages in Eden which we are proposing to designate as Key Hubs. These will replace the 46 currently designated Local Service Centres.

Employment FAQs

How did the Council select the preferred employment sites?

A list of potential employment sites was drawn up using a number of sources, including:

  • Sites included within Cumbria County Council's employment land monitoring information;
  • Other sites within/around Penrith considered through the Penrith Masterplan;
  • Appropriate sites identified through a 'Call for Sites' exercise;
  • Other sites already put to the Council, such as potentially surplus land owned by the County Council.

Each potential employment site has then been assessed or 'scored' through applying a range of assessment criteria and associated more detailed indicators. Further information on this can be found in the supporting Options and Technical Papers on Employment.

What types of employment will be on these sites?

In the main, this document proposes a degree of flexibility for what we consider suitable development on these sites. This could mean that any of the sites proposed could be used for office space, light or general industry and storage/distribution. Offering this flexibility means that the sites will be more attractive to potential employers moving to the area and give them confidence that we will support a range of employment uses.

There are some sites which we recognise would not be appropriate for certain types of development, either because they are located near housing, on prominent landscapes, or near environmental designations.

Who will work on these sites?

Though we cannot tell exactly who will work on these new sites, we do know that our population is growing. These sites could provide opportunities for local residents, or for persons moving into the district. We need to provide a range of employment types so that Eden can retain young professionals, working families and provide a more balanced economy.

Can there be new employment sites in the villages and rural areas?

Apart from sites identified in Brough and Tebay, we have not proposed any other allocations to the villages. This does not mean that new employment sites are unacceptable. We understand the important role that the rural economy plays in Eden. To support rural development, new policies in this document will support new opportunities for growth in the villages, which will allow development appropriately scaled to the size of the village.

Why do we need so much employment?

Recent average rates of employment development have been low. This has been due to a range of factors, with the most significant one over the last few years being the economic recession. It is important to plan positively as the economy recovers and make sure we have enough employment land to meet future needs.

Policies guiding new development FAQs

Why do we need them?

When an application for development is submitted to us, it is considered against both national and local policies in order to ensure that it complies. Where a development does not comply with one or more of these policies, consideration is given to the level of harm a development would cause if it were to go ahead as proposed.

What will the policies cover?

The policies will cover various aspects, including housing employment, but they will also focus on other areas, such as:

  • Tourism;
  • Natural Environment;
  • Renewable Energy;
  • Built Environment;
  • Community Services and Facilities.

There will also be policies which consider issues such as the design of new development, flood risk, infrastructure, and so on.

Who do I contact about the Local Plan 2014 to 2032?

For accessible information

The information contained in this document is available in different languages or formats upon request. Contact Eden District Council's Communication Officer: