For the attention of:
Mr John Slater, BA(Hons), DMS, MRTPI
John Slater Planning Ltd
Firstly, we would like to thank you for giving us this opportunity to comment on the two proposed policies for Beacon Hill. However, before we comment on individual policies of Lowther and PTC re. the Beacon Hill, it is worth re-stating the aims of the Friends of Penrith Beacon which were drawn up and agreed at a public meeting in 2018:
To safeguard all the Beacon forest area for the use of future generations - to help the owner of the forest to protect this precious environment.
Thus any policy to develop any part of the forest, outside its current use as a commercial forest, is liable to conflict with our aims.
Now to comment on the policies as sent to us:
In our view, their policy statement is very skimpy and appears designed to allow them to maximise development potential without any serious restriction, so we have several concerns, both general and specific.
PTC’s policy is much more detailed and descriptive. We can see what they might allow. Although we gather, there was no negotiation between the two parties, we notice that PTC have taken on board a lot of what Lowther said they wanted in their initial meeting they might wish for developments (for example, a forest school, car parking, cycle tracks, and footpaths etc). What PTC has excluded is overnight accommodation facilities.
If all the potential developments PTC listed were permitted in this specified area, we believe, it would negatively impact the forest. For although in planning terms this may be described as a large area, in relative forest terms (for example compared with Whinlatter or Grizedale), it is not.
Although we want the forest to remain a wild place for future generations and so have reservations on some of the measures the town council has suggested, it appears to us, that they have tried to suggest a compromise between the wishes of the local population, and the landowner.
If you consider, there has to be development of the forest, we are in agreement with the town council’s restrictions to their listed potential developments, because we feel they have been carefully considered to minimise damage to the forest. In particular, we agree that any development ‘should conserve and enhance the recreational value, biodiversity, heritage and cultural value, woodland character, important views and contribution of the area to a wider landscape character and sense of place.
We strongly believe that PTC is correct in that any development proposals that would provide accommodation for overnight stays (e.g. chalets, pods or camping) should not be permitted.
Due to the proximity and the importance of the Beacon Hill to Penrith, we feel that any policy to be approved, should not adversely impact on the lives of thousands of local people including current and future generations. We would hope that a Neighbourhood Plan could keep the benefit of the local community uppermost by safeguarding the forest.
iArtificial Light in the Environment, Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, 2009. p14
To save our Beacon Forest we have all been so busy! Everyone has been contributing whether it is by signing our petitions, going to Council meetings, asking awkward questions, researching and sending us helpful information, writing letters to the Herald, commenting on Facebook, and/or making banners then marching and rallying for the cause.
Between us we have brought it to the attention of residents of Penrith, the Town Council and the Eden District Council. This is an excellent start. We are doing well with our media coverage and also our petition. If you haven’t signed already, please do so. Remember to give your full address and postcode, otherwise your name won’t be counted. Anyone living, working or studying in the Eden District can sign it, including people under 18. So try and get everyone in your household/work etc. to sign.
‘So what now?’ people have been asking. Well the three most important things that we need as many people as possible to do are:
Below are some links to help you.
Saturday October 6th was a tremendous success. There was a huge turnout by hundreds of local supporters joining the rally starting from multiple places across Penrith. Our supporters made their voices, drums, bells and whistles heard as they rocked Penrith.
Many thanks for all your incredible support.
If you missed this rally, you can join us to receive up to date information about our campaign, including future events!
Saturday 6th October 2018
Come out in support to help Save the Beacon. Join the Rally beginning at any of the following places:
All groups will be walking towards the Town Centre. Please bring your banners, bells, whistles and drums