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Carlisle council throws out Talkin Tarn housing plan!

From The Cumberland News:

Councillors meeting today refused planning consent for the conversion of the former Tarn End House Hotel.

Developer Citadel Estates wanted to extend the building to provide 15 homes and in return promised to build a new boathouse for Talkin Tarn Amateur Rowing Club.

The council received 150 objections from members of the public, while 23 wrote in support of the scheme.

But planning office Angus Hutchinson recommended that councillors refuse the application saying that housing in open countryside was against council policy.

He also said the extension would be “detrimental to the character of the building and the area”.

There were also safety concerns about vehicle access to the site.

Andrew Willison-Holt, on behalf of Citadel Estates, said the company would not appeal against the decision.

He said: “My client will pursue that which he intended when he bought the site but without the boathouse.”

Councillors approved plans for the new boathouse in principle, but the rowing club lacks the funding to make them a reality.

Heated discussion in Save Talkin Tarn Facebook group

Well, Save Talkin Tarn has been a very busy group recently, as the 768 members (so far) discuss the problems with the proposed mini housing estate.

If you’re looking for more reading material, this page on the Carlisle City Council website showcases some of the diverse wildlife that can be found at the tarn….

Is Talkin Tarn boathouse bribery?

A letter in the Opinion section of the News & Star:

If I, or any other member of the public, were to submit an application to the planning office to build a house, and included with the application a brown envelope stuffed with money to smooth the way and get it passed, I’m sure it would not be long before the police were knocking on the door wanting to question me about the attempted bribery of council officials.

How is it then that the development company wanting to convert the Tarn hotel can offer £350,000 to get their plans passed and nobody says a word?

A bribe is a bribe no matter how it is dressed up and the application should be judged on its merits and nothing else.

That is of course unless I have misunderstood the development company’s intentions and they will build the new boathouse even if their application is turned down.

Kentmere Grove

Just how big is that boathouse?

As part of the effort to develop the old Tarn House hotel into a mini housing estate, the developers have proposed building a wonderful new boathouse for the Talkin Tarn Amateur Rowing Club.  But questions have been raised about the size of the new boathouse!

The proposed new boathouse has an internal area of 728m2, with a boat storage area of 484m2, enough to store 54 boats.  There’s also a nice private gym, a meeting room, more storage space, etc.

Now, most people won’t have any way of gauging that.  Is it a lot?

Well, exact figures for the number of active members in the club seem hard to come by, but they range from 25 to 75.    Most rowing focusses on boats with two, four or eight rowers, some with a extra person to steer (the cox).  So 54 boats for 75 people seems quite generous!

But the expansion of an athletic club, in this supersized society, is to be encouraged.  So let us assume that if they build it, new members will come, and maybe they’ll have enough members to crew at least some of those 54 boats.

So here’s an interesting article: London Rowing Club Boathouse. It’s about the boathouse of the London Rowing Club, in the heart of Rowing Country on the River Thames in London — possibly the largest concentration of rowers in Britain.

In it, you’ll notice that the external floor area is a misely 466m2. Now, granted, they have two stories, and the changing rooms and showers are on the first floor, you can easily see that not more than about 500m2 are used for the business of rowing, with the rest devoted to a bar, kitchen, club rooms, and an office.

So why does TTARC need one and half times as much space as the London Rowing Club?

Maybe they’re training to be the transport of choice when the next Eden floods Carlisle?

Housing for regular people “not worth contemplating”, apparently!

In a recently posted “response” to Carlisle’s planning people’s objections to their gandiose plans, the developer’s planners have rather revealed their bias!

They wrote:

The idea of providing affordable housing in this location is not worth even contemplating.

So, let’s get this straight: affordable housing for regular people to live in is “not worth contemplating”?  Why not?  Could it be that it would eat into the developer’s profits?

Any ideas, anyone?

1 Boathouse for 5 (or so) Houses?

The company that wants to turn the Tarn House Hotel into a terrace of 15 houses claims that “5 or so” of the new houses are needed to pay for the new boathouse they are offering as an “incentive” to gain support their new housing estate.

Now, the new boathouse is 4 times the size of the old one, so inquiring minds want to know quite how much boathouse you could get for, say, one extra house?

Wikipedia entry for Talkin Tarn

The Wikipedia entry for Talkin Tarn is a bit sparse:

Talkin Tarn is a glacial lake and country park in Cumbria, England. This lake was formed approximately 10,000 years ago by glacial action which formed this kettle hole lake and associated sand drumlins. Rowing and certain other water recreation are popular activities at Talkin Tarn. The rowing club, (Talkin Tarn Armature Rowing Club) are celebrating their 150th anniversary, in 2009.

If a local expert would like to write up a new and improved version, I just happen to be a Wikipedia editor, and would gladly update the page for you!

Email it to ebweir at gmail dot com.

Objectors take Talkin Tarn fight on to internet

A group of objectors hitting out against plans to turn one of the oldest hotels in Cumbria into a housing development have taken their protest to the web.

Save Talkin Tarn has was launched on social networking site Facebook on Friday and has already gained 130 supporters.

Fans of the beauty spot from as far afield as the USA, Spain and Edinburgh have thrown their weight behind the campaign.

Developer Dean Montgomery has tabled plans for 15 homes at the former Tarn End House Hotel at Talkin Tarn near Brampton.

Planning policies rule out housing in open countryside.

But Mr Montgomery’s company, Citadel Estates, says the scheme is in the public interest because it is offering to replace Talkin Tarn Amateur Rowing Club’s inadequate boathouse if the proposals are approved.

Alan Sykes of Talkin Head, who has officially objected to the plans, because they would see the beauty spot “utterly ruined” decided to set up the page. He said: “I wanted to get our message to as many people as possible and Facebook seemed like a good way to do this.”

He added: “If these plans get the go ahead it would be like building a small village in the countryside.

“There are some hamlets that are smaller than 15 houses.”

Mr Sykes also said he was concerned about increased volumes of traffic on the rural, single track roads surrounding the tarn.

There is a link on the web page directing people to the city council website where they can make objections.

Talkin Tarn Estate is managed by Carlisle City Council. But Tarn End House belonged to Cumbria County Council, which sold the 19th-century building to Mr Montgomery for £450,000 in April. It had first obtained planning consent for holiday flats.

Citadel Estates describes those plans as “crude and simplistic” and argues Tarn End is not viable as a hotel either.

Instead, it wants to build one three-bedroom and 14 two-bedroom houses for sale as private homes.

Most would have private terraces overlooking Talkin Tarn and all would have access to communal gardens.

The plans should go before the council’s development control committee on Friday October 2.

Dean Montgomery of Citadel Estates said: “Saving Talkin Tarn is exactly what we aim to do.

“Social media sites such as Facebook are a fast way to whip up a frenzy of emotion in a very short space of time.

“To our knowledge the views expressed there have not been communicated as official objections.

“I’m sure we could easily find just as many supporters of the scheme by using similar methods.”

From News & Star

From BBC News: Hotel scheme protest goes online

Now on the BBC news page!

More than 250 people have joined an online campaign against plans to turn a former hotel beside a Cumbrian beauty spot into 15 luxury homes.

Citadel Estates wants to convert and extend the former Tarn End House Hotel at Talkin Tarn near Brampton.

The Save Talkin Tarn group, created on social networking site Facebook, said the plans would “ruin” the area.

The developer said the scheme was in the public interest as a new boat house for a local rowing club would be built.

Alan Sykes, who created the Facebook group, said the plans would “destroy” the area’s beauty and ambiance.

He said: “It is essentially planting a small village in open countryside.

“This is 15 houses on less than half an acre of land in the middle of a beauty spot and it is bound to cause disruption and disturbance to an otherwise lovely and tranquil place.”

The site, which overlooks the Talkin Tarn country park, was been sold to the developer by Carlisle City Council for £450,000 earlier this year.

The plans are expected to go before the council’s planning committee on 2 October.

Objections from across the world to Talkin Tarn housing plan

Plans to turn a historic building on the edge of Talkin Tarn into 15 homes has raised objections from around the world.

International supporters of the Brampton beauty spot from California and Spain, alongside objectors from across the UK, have contacted Carlisle City Council about their fears for the tarn if the plans go ahead.

They feel that the unspoilt nature of the popular country park will be jeopardised if developer Dean Montgomery is allowed to extend and convert the landmark 19th-century Tarn End House Hotel into houses.

Since plans were revealed 26 people have lodged formal objections and almost 300 people have joined online protest page ‘Save Talkin Tarn’ on social network site Facebook.

There have been no official responses in favour of the development.

But Dean Montgomery of Citadel Estates argues that the scheme is in the public interest because it is offering to replace Talkin Tarn Amateur Rowing Club’s dilapidated boathouse, if the proposals are approved.

The club says it has raised £20,000 but needs £350,000 and that Mr Montgomery’s offer is its only hope.

The developer has also dismissed the Facebook protest and says that saving Talkin Tarn is exactly what he wants to do.

But one objector from Solvang in California, said that the plans would “deface” the tarn’s landscape.

The woman emailed Carlisle City Council to say: “Being able to immerse oneself such a natural setting has everything to do with beneficial human psychology, and therefore it would be a bane to the countryside’s people to deface Talkin Tarn in this way.”

Mary Hughes from Ardales in Malaga, Spain, added: “I am appalled at this application. I visited Talkin Tarn first with my children and now with my grandchildren. The thought of a view of new houses instead of the old hotel I have visited many times in the past horrifies me.”

Alan Sykes of Talkin Head, who is behind the online ‘Save Talkin Tarn’ campaign, said: “This is too dense a development which would adversely affect Talkin Tarn and the road to Talkin village and would also ruin an attractive Victorian farmhouse.”

Edwards Scott from Banks House in Brampton fears this could set a precedent for other housing developments in beauty spots.

He said: “The proposal is contrary to the council’s rural area policy, outside a built-up area and not within a village envelope, therefore it would create a planning precedent which could lead to further developments and be detrimental to the visual amenity.”

Council officials are to release recommendations next week on whether or not councillors should approve the application.

From the Cumberland News, article by Linzi Watson.