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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

Villagers’ fury at council’s plan for 77 new homes

ANGRY villagers have formed an action group after the parish council put forward potential locations for up to 77 homes.

Kirkby Ireleth parish councillors voted to recommend three sites around the village for potential homes at an emergency meeting on Wednesday, but called for a reduction in the number of homes on them.

Villagers claimed councillors ignored their suggested location and have set up the action group to take the parish council to task.

Kirkby Ireleth Parish Council held the emergency meeting to return a verdict on South Lakeland District Council’s Strategic Land Allocation Assessment, which earmarks land for potential housing developments throughout the district. The meeting was called after Patrick Arnold, of School Road, Kirkby, gathered a petition against the council’s initial response – which recommended a plot of land behind the village shop.

Around 60 residents turned out for a public debate on Tuesday and 40 attendees voted for the field behind Burlington School to be used an alternative site.

Councillors initially proposed adjourning the meeting to consider their previous suggestions and SLDC’s proposals more carefully, but the idea was dismissed.

Some residents were left fuming after councillors voted to recommend a piece of land behind Moorland Stores at Four Lane Ends, along with land next to the Burlington Inn and behind Burlington School, as potential sites for a total of 25 houses.

Six councillors voted in favour of the proposal with one abstention.

The suggestion was put forward by Councillor Michael Jackson, who will work alongside Councillor Michael McPherson to finalise the council’s response.

Cllr McPherson said: “Last night was probably the highest attended public meeting we’ve had in my time as a parish councillor.

“If we are not very careful we are going to pit one part of the community against the other, we could have warring factions but we should be united in what we are trying to achieve.

“We have been put in a very difficult situation here, and it’s a situation that SLDC has put us in.”

Council chairwoman Councillor Dora Greenway said: “Our recommendation is the development is spread over R29 (field next to the Burlington Inn), R211 (behind Moorland Stores) and RN11 (behind Burlington School).”

The closing date for the consultation is April 15.

After the meeting Ken Wilkinson, of Four Lane Ends, Kirkby said: “We are going to set up an action group to take to task the parish council on this.”

Mr Arnold said there were signs of division in the town: “The wish of the people is not to fight the parish council but to work with them.

“There was no discussion (of the council’s proposal) in the context of the meeting and no vote (for the public) and the public demand opportunity of any input.”

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