Planning for the future

Date: Wednesday 11th July 2018

IT is unfortunate that two sets of proposals for the future of Penrith have appeared at the same time, allowing the potential for confusion among residents.

However, the plans being put forward by Eden District Council and Penrith Town Council are each important in their own right, even though the scale of what they cover is hugely different.

The masterplan put forward by Eden covers its aspirations for the town’s development in decades to come. At its heart is the creation of more than 5,000 new homes in three villages sited behind the Beacon on greenfield land, accessed by a new eastern bypass.

Penrith Town Council’s neighbourhood development plan, on the other hand, focuses more on the short term, containing aims to improve the flow of traffic and pedestrianise parts of the town centre.

It might look as though the issues covered by the town council’s plans — such as how shop fronts in the town centre should look — pale into insignificance compared with the massive effects of the masterplan should all it contains go ahead, resulting, for instance, in an almost doubling of the town’s population within a little over 30 years.

But for all the talk of new housing and new industry, it is important that Penrith remains an attractive market town with an active community and a wide range of shops and services.

It is unlikely that people will come and live in the proposed new villages without a vibrant town on their doorstep, so the steps aimed at ensuring that are to be applauded.

In both instances, periods of consultation will take place allowing residents to have their say. We urge the people of Penrith to play a full part — and the councils involved to take on board what they say.