20th October 2022

Following public consultation, changes were made to the Neighbourhood Plan, including changes we supported to ensure the plan properly protected the Beacon, which is a key landscape feature of the area. Penrith Town Council then submitted their plan for examination.

An independent examiner has ruled that the policies relating to green spaces and leisure facilities, including the Beacon, should be removed from the Neighbourhood Plan.  Although the examiner found that subject to this removal, the Plan could proceed to referendum, Penrith Town Council do not want this and are concerned that the Plan would not reflect residents wishes if it did not include policies to protect green spaces.

We are unclear as yet whether Eden District Council’s Planning Policy department endorses the examiner’s view.

The Town Council asked for comments to help them judge what support there would be for a Plan that says nothing about protecting open green spaces and leisure areas within the town. We wrote to the Town Council to confirm that we would not support a Neighbourhood Plan that did not protect green spaces, particularly the Beacon, and that did not reflect the views of the local community.

We await further updates.

A consultation is currently underway seeking comments on a draft policy to give planning protection to an area of Penrith Beacon, an important landscape feature and landmark immediately north east of Penrith, as part of Penrith Neighbourhood Plan. In an unusual step, the policy has been put forward by the Examiner assessing the Plan after he confirmed that the area was too large to be given protection as a Local Green Space but that it nevertheless warranted special protection because of its value for the local community, the landscape, wildlife and recreation. Policies were proposed by Penrith Town Council and landowners Lowther Estate Trust but the Examiner did not fully agree with either approach.

We very much support the inclusion of a policy to protect the Beacon and have been working closely with local campaign group, Keep Penrith Special, to help secure this. We will be responding to this final consultation on the Penrith Neighbourhood Plan with our comments on the detailed wording of the policy.

To find out more and have your say please see https://www.eden.gov.uk/planning-and-building/planning-policy/neighbourhood-planning/penrith-neighbourhood-planning-area/ . The deadline for comments is Friday 4th February 2022.

Image by Claire Dowling.