- About The Process
- Further Questions
- Health & Wellbeing
- Transport & Infrastructure
The garden village prospectus states that there is no single template for a garden community. It states that the villages should be ‘built at a scale which supports the necessary infrastructure to allow the community to function self-sufficiently on a day to day basis’. For the larger garden communities i.e new towns over 10,000 this may require a larger centre of shops. The Penrith Strategic Masterplan is at the lower end of the scale for garden villages with a convenience store this could be a small co-op/spar/nisa which incorporates a post office. We also see a multi-purpose civic building that could be used in part as a doctors surgery. We are looking for the villages to support Penrith’s existing town centre.
The government published its prospectus for Garden Villages after the engagement process was developed for the Penrith Masterplan. An application for Community Village status would be a separate process. Any future version of the Masterplan would have to take into account the outcome of any application for funding from the Government for Garden Village status and Members’ consideration of any such offer of funding.
In terms of the latest round of the Garden Village scheme (October 2018) the Council can confirm that no bid will be made. The Masterplan has just gone through a public engagement process (10 Sept – 2 Nov 2018) and Council Members still have to review the comments received as part of this process and decide whether to take the Masterplan forward in its current or an amended form.
The Penrith Strategic Masterplan is a vision to 2050 (32 years forward).
The public engagement process for the Penrith Strategic Masterplan – A Vision to 2050 has stimulated a great deal of public debate about the proposals contained in the document for the town and wider Eden’s future. A report will go before Council Members in December 2018 which will include an overview of the public engagement process and outline the next steps which could be taken.
We are considering all representations provided and will report these back to Council Members clarifying the public’s response and making recommendations as to how to take this vision forward in either its current or in an amended form.
This is a plan addressing many of the issues raised by the public themselves revolving around the need to provide more affordable housing, improving a low wage economy, improving and making the Penrith town centre more resilient to future change and improving traffic routes in and around Penrith, with the potential for reducing associated pollution.
By developing a long term plan for the future of the District, we can control and provide a mix of new housing we require to meet local needs and also create and attract high paid jobs and protect our quality environment from unwanted speculative commercial development, which may not reflect the high quality and character of Eden’s primary Market town that we want to maintain.
The Masterplan is a project which will be developed over a 32 year period up to 2050
The homes and jobs will be provide both by the private sector and a combination of public and private sector initiatives
The Beacon Villages project has not yet been costed and is a proposal by Eden District Council.
The development of the road network will be part of a further piece of work revolving around the results of the traffic modelling following the update of the Saturn transport model for Penrith. Clearly, it would not be appropriate to propose dangerous road junctions and any proposals coming forward would be the subject of scrutiny by the controlling authorities of Cumbria County Council and Highways England.
The Penrith Masterplan is a high level review provide by LUC. The issue or road detail will be a consideration of further investigation depending on whether the current version of the Masterplan is taken forward or whether this is amended in some form following this engagement process.
The Penrith Strategic Masterplan is not fully reliant on a Northern Relief Road although it could provide a new connection between the A66 and J41 of the M6 and support housing, jobs growth and the reduction of air pollution. Whilst it has the potential to improve traffic flow by taking vehicles away from busy junctions, we have listened to the concerns expressed in our stakeholder consultation and have since concluded that the Masterplan is not wholly reliant on this road and that there are alternative solutions that include upgrading existing roads, improving junctions on the A66 to reduce congestion and adding new bus routes to our three new villages and employment areas.
There will be a new radial bus service linking the new employment and residential villages, the town centre with the existing bus and train stations.
The Masterplan promotes three distinct villages, each including pedestrian/cycling infrastructure together with local services and amenities. The creation of these local centres within each of the settlements will assist in reducing the need for people to travel by car, particularly with infrastructure for walking and cycling is being a key part of the masterplan.
We believe it should be as easy to walk and cycle around the Beacon Villages as it would be to drive. Cycle routes and walkways will enhance the appearance of the town. This combined with a new and enhanced public transport network will generate a real travel choice for residents, reducing the reliance on cars. The result would be a reduction in development traffic on the local highway network. To encourage trips on foot or bike beyond the development boundary, the development will connect into the wider pedestrian/cycle infrastructure.
The internal roads within the Masterplan area and the external road improvements required to enable the Masterplan are to function will be the responsibility of Cumbria County Council and will be funded by contribution from the individual developments. The improvements to the strategic road network and are the responsibility of Highways England will be funded by central government.
The Council is aware of the problems of congestion in these areas and would not want to see this increased but addressed within the development of the Masterplan. Eden has commissioned Cumbria County Council to undertake an update of the Saturn Traffic Model for Penrith to enable effective traffic modelling for the main elements of the Masterplan. As a consequence of the traffic modelling it will then be possible to develop an infrastructure improvement plan to address these concerns.
The update of the Saturn model will be in combination with similar modelling being undertaken by Highways England who are responsible for the dualling of the A66. In combination, both the local and strategic road networks will be fully considered both within the town and how this relates to major strategic road network along both the A66 and the M6 running between Kemplay Bank roundabout and Junction 40.
We must ensure we have taken every step possible to reduce congestion on our main roads and in the town centre. Our review will cover everything from traffic flows at Kemplay roundabout to ensuring public transport services link to the town centre and train station.
We are looking at how we can best manage increased traffic flow on all our main roads and major routes and are already liaising with the County Council and Highways England on this matter.
The proposed location of the new Beacon Villages and employment land would naturally see more vehicle movements being taken from M6 J41 which is currently an underutilised motorway junction.
Our primary schools do not have the space to welcome many more pupils, QEGs is oversubscribed and UCC is approaching capacity. If we do nothing, the gradual increase in housing around Penrith will create problems for our schools, making it harder to deliver a good quality education. Providing new schools within the new villages will help to avoid this problem and make it easier for pupils to cycle and walk to school.
Yes – we are already at a point where capacity is an issue both at primary and secondary school level. It is anticipated that the Masterplan would generate the need for 3 new (2 form intake) primary schools and one new secondary school for around 900 pupils. The primary schools would be located within each of the three new villages.
Eden’s problems with low wages and genuinely affordable housing are contributing to the general decline in living standards across Eden. Higher paid jobs will have a two-fold benefit of firstly encouraging working age people to either stay in Eden to live and bring up their families or encourage new working age people to come to or return to Penrith to live and enjoy the attractive lifestyle that Penrith can offer. The increase in higher well paid jobs will benefit the town with the potential for both increased footfall within the town centre providing an increased resilience to the offer of the town centre and the opportunity to benefit from improved living standards.
Fuel poverty is a very real problem throughout Eden. The provision of 5,560 new homes will be an opportunity to ensure that the new homes provided by the Masterplan are up to high thermal efficiency standards and will represent a significant proportion of homes in Penrith by 2050.
The Masterplan takes account of the National Planning Policy Framework in planning for the future, planning for a mix of housing based on current and future demographic trends, market trends and the needs of different groups in the community. Eden has a rapidly ageing population and by 2037 35% of people in Eden will be aged 65 and over with various requirements for housing. It is important that within the Masterplan we build new homes that will meet the demands of older people, for example bungalows and other accessible homes as well as supported and extra care housing.
Even at existing growth rates Penrith will expand and there is a need now to prepare and agree how Penrith will grow in the future beyond the existing Local Plan period to 2032 and on to 2050. The public engagement period put forward our initial proposals, now the first public engagement period is complete, a report will go before Council Members in December 2018 which will include an overview of the public engagement process and outline the next steps which could be taken.
Already our employment and residential land allocations within the Local Plan are being built out or are committed and there is a need to establish where the next phases of development should be directed. This requires us to look beyond the existing and allocated areas as we step further into the countryside.
Within this new development Public Open space will be central to providing a quality environment and will be provided in a variety of forms within the phases of delivery through planning application approvals, linking in with strategic green routes, and infrastructure and country parks. This green infrastructure will provide the basis for a healthy, active, and sustainable new community.
The impact on local infrastructure is considered as part of this process and proposals are made for the provision of three additional primary schools and a new secondary school to serve the pupils generated by the scale of development proposed.
We are in discussion with the NHS to establish the needs of the service and are looking to provided outreach community hub facilities within in each of the three villages.
It is hoped that the indicated scale of development contained within the Masterplan will provide more resilience to the existing care facilities already existing in Penrith.
The concerns over car pollution is most valid which is why the Masterplan is considering an integrated transport provision involving both private and public transport together revolving around a network of Greenways providing a viable option for walking and cycling on a daily basis and as a practical alternative.
The current Masterplan proposals have no status and have been brought forward in this engagement process as the first stage in considering how Penrith will expand beyond the current Local Plan to 2032 and on up to 2050.
If there are alternative proposals coming forward as part of this engagement process, these will be considered and taken into account in a subsequent report to Council Members. Such a report will have three options, to recommend approval of the Masterplan as it stands, to recommend approval of the Masterplan but with amendments, or to recommend an alternative solution. It is therefore the case that alternative proposals can be considered as part of this engagement process.
Eden is actively engaging with Highways England in its consideration of the dualling of the A66. This is an ongoing process and three basic options are under consideration by Highways England comprising of a northern relief road, a southern relief road and their current preferred option of the upgrading of the existing route through Kemplay Bank roundabout through to Junction 40.
The route of the northern relief road in the preferred option has been the subject of a high level vertical alignment assessment to establish the feasibility of the route shown.
It is considered that the Masterplan is not fully reliant on the northern relief road, but it is agreed that such a connection would support growth benefitting the wider Penrith area as well as meeting the requirements of a strategic improvement for the northern road network.
Green transport links are an integral part of the overall transport consideration, both between and around the villages and the Beacon and also as a means to access Penrith as a natural alternative to the car or bus, on a daily basis and as part of a daily routine.
The use of green transport Links will be part of an overall strategy to provide access to and from Penrith and not just because of concerns over current congestion problems within the town. We have engaged Cumbria County Council to update the Penrith ‘Saturn’ transport model to enable us to consider what the travel impacts will be for Penrith and how both the existing and increased traffic use will be addressed. This ‘Saturn’ model will be updated by the New Year and traffic modelling for the villages some two months later.
Clearly any new and additional development will require the necessary infrastructure to support it. This is simply the first stage in a process of identifying the possible direction for expansion, but even at this stage we are already in discussion with infrastructure providers to ascertain what would be the potential impact on Penrith and the environs and how this can be addressed in a pragmatic and phased delivery programme.
Infrastructure providers relate to the provision of foul and surface water drainage, highways (both at a County and regional level), health, fire and police services, public transport (including both bus and rail services), pedestrian linkages together with social and health services.
If we do not plan for the future we may find that the things that we cherish about Penrith and Eden will be undermined because of our declining working age population. Eden’s problems with low wage levels and a lack of genuinely affordable housing are contributing to this decline, but we believe it is possible to plan for a better future in which we have the well paid jobs and the housing to attract families and encourage more young people to stay in the area.
The Eden Local plan is currently allocating employment and residential land up to 2032, but it is apparent, particularly with employment land much of the allocation is either built out or committed and there is now the need to consider where is the next direction to consider for development taking us up to 2032 and on to 2050.
Growth in the local economy has surged ahead of population growth and Penrith is in the fortunate position of being in near full employment. This is a double edged sword and as a consequence, employers in Penrith who are seeking to expand, or new employers looking to invest in Penrith have to rely on people travelling here from out of the District with workers travelling in from Carlisle and West Cumbria.
Our consultants, LUC, have undertaken a high level review of alternative sites in Penrith and this is set out in Appendix B of the Technical Appraisal. Having considered visual impact, environmental constraints, and the development’s relationship to existing villages, the preferred option would allow the villages to be integrated into the landscape with less visual impact on the surrounding area with views from the west limited by Beacon Hill and to the east screened and contained by woodland. This option strikes a good balance between ambitious growth and caring for and respecting the environment around the development.
A key element of the Masterplan is to provide ongoing support to Penrith town centre. A growing population will generate an increasing number of customers all year round for the town’s shops and businesses.
The Masterplan also envisages improvements in the infrastructure for pedestrian and cyclists in Penrith town centre. The opportunity also exists to improve the layout and appearance of the area surrounding the train station.
More could be done to celebrate the area’s rich and colourful history with a particular focus on Penrith Castle and Castle Park.
An upgrade to the bus station would see extra stands for new routes and services and new cycle storage facilities.
We would also look to enhance the cultural offer within the town centre, complementing outdoor opportunities found in the nearby Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Park and North Pennines.
The Council believes that working alongside the Penrith Chamber of Trade and Business Improvement Districts, that plans can be put in place that encourage the link between the new Beacon Villages and employment land over the course of the development of the Masterplan so everyone benefits.
We are aware that in January 2017 the Government announced its backing and support for St Cuthberts Garden Village near Carlisle. Copeland previously submitted a bid for Garden Village in the 1st round but was unsuccessful. The Beacon Villages provide for a very different offer, unique to Penrith, which is seen as a complement to other authorities pursuing garden village developments.
The Local Enterprise Partnership is in the process of developing a Local Industrial Strategy and recognises as one of its core purposes the need to increase the working age population throughout Cumbria to provide resources for existing businesses and attract new ones. Eden’s own way of addressing this county wide issue is through the establishment and delivery of the Masterplan that we are currently carrying out a public engagement process on.
A combination of high house prices in relation to incomes in Eden, and a shortage of high value jobs, means that many young people inevitably seek employment and housing elsewhere. In line with the current Local Plan, the Council will continue to seek a minimum of 30% affordable housing on all new housing developments of 11 units or more in Penrith. In addition, schemes such as discounted sale and shared ownership together with affordable housing to rent will all form part of this offer.
In terms of employment, we are planning to provide 73 ha of additional employment land that will provide space of indigenous businesses to expand and help with attracting new businesses into the area. It is hoped this will provide a range of job opportunities that will be attractive to young people in the area. We also consider that the additional employment land will provide the right conditions to enable more highly skilled and better paid jobs.
In many parts of the country the working age population is growing but in Cumbria it is predicted to fall by 47,400 by 2041. We recognise there is an imbalance in the economy with a declining working age population and a growing shortfall of younger, more skilled workers. This means that standing still is not a viable option for Penrith and Eden’s long term viability. We believe we can plan for a better future which will have the well paid jobs and a wider range of housing to attract families into the area and encourage more young people to stay to take up local jobs.
It is clear that Penrith is seen as a good place to do business. We already have businesses struggling to find premises here and a number of industrial estates on the outskirts of Penrith are nearing capacity and need to find space to expand. Due to Penrith’s unique position at the centre of a transport hub that reaches north and south, via the M6, and east and west, via the A66, along with first class rail links, the nuclear developments on the west coast and the imminent launch of commercial flights at Carlisle airport, we have much to offer existing, relocating and new businesses.
With plans for the dualling the full length of the A66 from Scotch Corner to Junction 40 of the M6, the emerging Borderlands Growth Deal and the development of Cumbria’s own Local Industrial Strategy, we can see obvious potential for significant job growth and creation.
Around 7,000 new jobs could be created in the Penrith area through delivery of the Masterplan over the next thirty years.
The Masterplan recognises the continued need to link with schools, the local college, the University of Cumbria and other training providers to further build relationships with new and emerging businesses.
Fostering such working arrangements would enable the growing population to access better training with a particular focus on new technology and digital skills which could lead to higher paid jobs.
This is difficult to estimate, but we are seeking to attract higher paid employment opportunities created in research and development, offices, industrial units and the logistics sector to the North of Penrith and close to the M6 at Junction 41.
It is anticipated that around 7,000 new jobs could be created. Existing businesses struggle to find premises here and general demand is likely to increase with the planned upgrade and dualling of the A66. Therefore the jobs would be created through a combination of the following factors:
- existing businesses expanding;
- Eden being identified as a new location for businesses wishing to relocate to due to new employment land situated adjacent to a major and accessible motorway junction (Junction 41)
- Supply side jobs associated with nuclear developments on the west coast, which are likely to be served by a large supply chain network. Penrith is well placed to house these supply chain businesses due to its excellent transport connections, although it is recognised that this sector is currently experiencing hopefully short term issues.
- With 73 hectares of new employment land being made available, we anticipate this would also accommodate offices, research and development businesses, industrial units and facilities for the logistics sector. The intention to provide for a wide offer that has the potential to generate a higher wage environment.
Our consultants, LUC, have undertaken a high level review of 32 alternative sites in and around Penrith and this is set out in Appendix B of the Technical Appraisal. Having considered visual impact, environmental constraints, and the development’s relationship to existing villages, the preferred option would allow the villages to be integrated into the landscape with less visual impact on the surrounding area with views from the west limited by Beacon Hill and to the east screened and contained by woodland. This option strikes a good balance between ambitious growth and caring for and respecting the environment around the development.
We anticipate that the extra homes will be required: for a number of reasons:
(i) according to Eden’s Strategic Housing Market Assessment, a significant increase in single person households is predicted, whilst overall household size is decreasing. This will, in part, generate a need for further houses;
(ii) we wish to reduce the number of people migrating out of the District because they simply cannot afford to buy a house here or find a job. If we are successful in doing this, we will need more homes, including those looking to buy or rent their first home;
(iii) we wish to attract more people, particularly families into the area, to take up the new job opportunities that will be created. This will also generate a demand for more housing;
(iv) Penrith is currently expanding in the region of 120 or so houses a year under normal growth and this will continue both through the period of the Local Plan to 2032 and is expected to continue through to 2050, in addition to any additional anticipate growth.
In line with the current Local Plan, the Council will continue to seek a minimum of 30% affordable housing on all new developments of over 11 units in Penrith. Within the provision of affordable housing, the Council will encourage low cost home ownership schemes such as discounted sale and shared ownership. This will also include some affordable housing to rent, including bungalows for older people and those with disabilities together with special needs housing
Eden District and wider Cumbria has an ageing population and a shortage of working age people. These are needs that the Strategic Masterplan desperately needs to address now and into the future to stop economic and social decline. The make-up of local households is also changing as people are living longer and there are more single person households.
We need to provide housing that caters for smaller households. We have an ageing population and wish to enable people to still live in their homes independently in their later years, but still receive the extra care they need. We need a range of housing, including affordable homes which are market led (discounted sale) and affordable social rented housing.
The housing mix may can include opportunities for self-build, community led and modular housing schemes.
If the Masterplan proposals were taken forward the Council could investigate a number of options to phase the building of the three beacon villages, employment land and the required infrastructure. This could include a Garden Village Bid to central government for funding and public/private sector partnership to deliver the housing, infrastructure needs and employment land. The intention would be to include a wide range of developers from the mainstream volume builders, to the small and medium builders, together with a range of custom and self-build developers.
If the proposals contained in the Masterplan came to fruition the housing could be built in a phased approach over the next 30 years to 2050.
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