Green light for business units on former railway line

Date: Friday 17th July 2009

ANOTHER industrial building can be built at Flusco business park, near Penrith, Eden planners have agreed, despite objections from supporters of the reinstatement of the Penrith to Keswick railway line.

Mr. G. Aris has been granted permission for a new 24x11 metre building to create two units, on a site which spans the former route of the railway, on which the last train ran on 4th March, 1972.

CKP Railways, a group which would like to see the railway reinstated, objected on the grounds that the scheme obstructed the route.

However, planning officers pointed out that the entire Flusco business park spanned the former line of the track, and buildings had already been built across the former railway site.

Eden Council’s planning applications committee considered the impact on the railway reinstatement plans when first considering a business park on the Flusco site and concluded that the railway had no reasonable prospect of reopening.

Mike Davidson (Ind., Penrith) said: “It is shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.”

Planning officer Malcolm Johnson added that in order to reinstate the original track, several other planning permissions would have to be reversed and 75 per cent. of the route was now in private ownership, meaning the scale of buying back the land would be huge.

He said the Northwest Regional Development Agency had estimated the cost of reinstating the line at £100 million. In order for it to be viable, it would need to run at 75 per cent. capacity, about six times a day, which in a rural area was not feasible.

However, Henry Sawrey-Cookson (Ind., Kirkby Thore) said council policy was to refuse development where it obstructed the route of former railway lines and suggested the building could be re-sited.

However, councillors were advised that they could only determine the application as put to them, not amend it in any way.

Permission for the new building was therefore approved.