Newsletter 131

Headlines for this newsletter:

  • We welcome Freddie Gick, Chair of Civic Voice, to Cockermouth
  • Celebrations of John Dalton 250 begin with the unveiling of the John Dalton Way Plaque
  • Heritage Open Days plans are progressing well, boosted by John Dalton 250
  • Tickets are now on sale for our trip to Carlisle and Lanercost Priory on July 5th, limited to 25.
  • We continue with our castle tours with some access restrictions pending engineering assessments, but it has all happened before!
  • Allerdale BC put a spanner in the works on the Local Heritage Listing project.
  • Allerdale BC reject our application for the URC rooms to be an Asset of Community Value
  • Cockermouth Town Council decide NOT to develop a Neighbourhood Plan
  • Cumbria County Council have stopped talking to us
  • A dozen Civic Trust members assist in the tidy up of the Memorial Gardens, post flood
  • We object to the proposal for an out of town retail development on Low Road

For more information on these and other activities, please read on.

Freddie Gick, Chair of Civic Voice, visits us.

Freddie Gick, Chair of Civic Voice, spent the day with us in Cockermouth on 16th March. We started the day with a Civic Trust member’s meeting. Freddie informed us about Civic Voice, its future & its relationship with local civic societies. Freddie’s term of office ends near the end of this year, as will a number of other trustees, so we can expect significant change at the top.

We then gave a presentation on what we have been doing locally and our local concerns. Freddie took these away to share with other societies. Not surprisingly, flooding, flood defences and flood mitigation was prominent and Freddie undertook to determine if there was wider support for a meeting of Civic Societies from ‘flood towns’ to share and learn from experiences, and then to agree on any learning points that need to be a national focus at government level.

After a buffet lunch, we took Freddie on a walk around our town centre to reinforce his impressions of Cockermouth. He clearly was impressed, not least with the excellent weather!

War Memorial Workshop

After lunch, we hosted a War Memorial Workshop which Freddie Gick led. As well as some of our members, a number of people from other societies and councils in North Cumbria attended. During these centenary years of WW1, there is a national focus on improving the condition of our memorials and Civic Voice have been given the role of identifying memorials & undertaking simple condition surveys. There is national grant money available for repairs where needed. We undertook to do surveys on memorials in the Cockermouth locality, and there are more than you might think! The cenotaph in Cockermouth is a good example. We believe it hasn’t received significant maintenance for decades & you can see through from one side to the other where mortar should be!

John Dalton 250

The Civic Trust has taken the lead in ensuring that Cockermouth and Eaglesfield celebrate this year the 250th anniversary of the birth of John Dalton, our famous son. John Dalton is of course famous world wide for his contributions to the development of atomic theory, the science of meteorology and the understanding of colour blindness. Celebrations have already begun with the formal opening of the new ‘John Dalton Way’ when our Mayor, Julie Laidlow, unveiled the plaque at the start of the walk in Kings Arms Lane.

This walk was created by local walking group, ‘the Nuclear Striders’ who have also produced a booklet describing both the walk & the life of John Dalton.

In August, the Cockermouth Heritage Group will have their annual summer exhibition at the Kirkgate Centre which this year will feature John Dalton as well as WW1 centenary material.

The actual anniversary is around the 5th or 6th September, so we have decided to include a John Dalton 250 weekend as part of Heritage Open Days which run from 8th to 11th September this year. The plans now include:

  • A lecture on John Dalton at the Kirkgate Centre on the Friday at 7.30pm by Tom Smith, author of the book ‘John Dalton, a Cumbrian Philosopher’. Free tickets now available.
  • An accompanying exhibition by the Heritage Group on the Friday evening and Saturday
  • An exhibition on the Saturday in Eaglesfield Village Hall on John Dalton and historic Eaglesfield, with refreshments. Organised by Eaglesfield Village Hall Committee.
  • A self guided walk round Eaglesfield on the Saturday, with Children’s quiz, organised by the Village Hall Committee.
  • Open day at John Dalton Memorial Church, St Philips, Eaglesfield, on the Saturday.
  • Two guided walks along the John Dalton Way from Cockermouth to Eaglesfield, led by the Nuclear Striders, on the Saturday at 10am and 12.30pm.
  • Transport between Cockermouth & Eaglesfield on the Saturday by vintage bus organised by Workington Transport Heritage Group.
  • An exhibition in the Eco Centre by Cockermouth School on the development of science since the time of John Dalton.

Heritage Open Days, 8th to 11th September 2016

In addition to the John Dalton 250 activities already described, there following will be open:

– Banks Ironmongers

– Percy House

– Masonic Hall – John Dalton Lodge

– Friend’s Meeting House – exhibition  of the Quaker response to the Military Service Act, 1916.

(all of the above on the Saturday).

– Isel Hall on the Thursday & Friday

The exhibition at the Friend’s Meeting House will be particularly worth a visit as it will be a once only event as part of the WW1 centenary. Quakers and members of other peace churches suffered imprisonment under the Militia Acts of the 18th & 19th centuries. However, it was the Military services Act of 1916 that encouraged Quakers to challenge conscription. This meant facing imprisonment for their beliefs or accepting alternative service on the land, in hospitals or doing relief work. This display will include part of the Quaker Service exhibition which illustrates alternatives to violence.

Carlisle  & Lanercost Priory, Tueday July 5th

Our annual trip this year is closer to home with a walking tour round historic Carlisle in the morning and a guided visit to Lanercost Priory in the afternoon. Total cost per person will be £21, (English Heritage members £18). Tickets are limited to 25 so please apply early, some were disappointed last year. Full details of the itinerary are are on the enclosed ticket application form but in summary we will have:

  • A morning walking tour lasting 1½ hours, led by Carol Donnelly, arranged by Carlisle Civic Trust
  • Free time for lunch in Carlisle
  • Tour of Lanercost Priory & Dacre Hall led by John Lee – who promises an entertaining tour!
  • Afternoon refreshments in Dacre Hall, included.

The breakdown of costs is coach £10, Lanercost entry £3 (group), tour guide pm £3, refreshments pm £5. The latter 2 will help support the ‘Parochial Village Hall’. The Carlisle tour is on a reciprocal basis for a future Carlisle CT visit to Cockermouth.

Castle Tours

We reported the landslip on the castle mound in the last newsletter and the work that had already been undertaken to protect the mound from further erosion. We understand that no visible damage has occurred to the walls or buttresses and engineering assessments are ongoing. We also understand that consideration is being given to additional protection to the castle mound at river level. We have agreement from Lord & Lady Egremont to continue with our 2016 programme of castle tours, but have jointly reviewed the risk assessment for the visits. As a result, and pending the outcome of the engineering assessments, we have introduced limited access restrictions. These should not interfere significantly with the visits apart from not including the Mirk Kirk in the tours.

What is interesting is that the problem is not something new. I quote from Bernard Bradbury:

‘In addition to three 15C buttresses on the north wall, 3 large ones were built between the Round & Kitchen towers in 1752 because the bank gave way and ‘parted from the wall”.

‘In 1755, a water ‘wear’ was built to prevent the River Derwent from undermining and washing away the Castle Hill’.

Daffodil Day

We were very happy to support the inaugural Daffodil Day, organised by Rotary. We had a stall inside All Saints Church for the day where we displayed information on our activities and sold some of our books.

We also led 3 ‘History Walks’ from All Saints Church to Wordsworth House. We ran all 3 walks but the turnout was quite small due to the atrocious weather on the day.

Local Heritage Listing Progress

The good news first. Allerdale BC seem to have now agreed the process for considering nominations for local listing, and as such, they are ready to begin the process of compiling a pilot list based on Cockermouth & District, as submitted by ourselves. Now the (very) bad news. Allerdale BC in their wisdom have decided that the List should exclude anything within a Conservation Area as they believe that properties & other aspects within Conservation Areas are already adequately protected by their conservation area status. The real reason is to seek to save officer time & money, not an unreasonable objective in itself.

We believe that this decision is flawed in that Conservation Area status and Local Listing provide different types of protection and protection provided to a heritage asset through listing is not necessarily automatically provided by the asset being in a Conservation Area. The role of the Conservation Area is to protect the quality and special interest of the neighbourhood as a whole, rather than specific buildings; whereas the role of local listing is to protect individual buildings or aspects of an area, whether or not they lie within a Conservation Area.

The Good Practice Guide for Local Listing states:

‘Heritage assets can be added to a local heritage list regardless of whether they are sited in conservation areas. Nonetheless, conservation area appraisals and management plans may provide a useful starting point for the preparation of a local list. One aspect of the appraisal process with particular relevance to local heritage listing is the identification of unlisted buildings that make a ‘positive contribution’ to the character of a conservation area’

We have submitted 19 nominations to Allerdale of which 17, (89%), lie within a Conservation Area. These 19 were simply based on a brainstorm of our members on what they considered important to list in our town and environs. From our perspective, excluding Conservation Areas is not an option.

Allerdale BC have left the door slightly ajar, in that they said that they might reconsider with experience and review if the actual impact on officer time is not unduly onerous. We will therefore offer them an olive branch for them to review our nominations outside of Conservation Areas, then undertake a joint review.

Assets of Community Value.

Allerdale BC have rejected our application for the United Reformed Church Rooms to be declared an ‘asset of community value’. The rejection was on the basis that the community use of the building is not the ‘main purpose’ of the building, this being as a place of worship. We are well aware that assets of community value can only be applied to the main purpose of a building. We are also obviously aware that the design purpose of the URC buildings is as a place of worship. However, the buildings are actually used, time-wise, significantly more for community use than worship and this was the basis of our application. So it comes down to interpretation of what ‘main use’ means. There is no right of appeal so we do not intend to progress this any further.

Annual Lunch

Around 20 of us had an excellent lunch at Hundith Hill this year and our guests of honour were the Mayor & ‘Mayoress’. The Mayor, Julie Laidlow, gave our after dinner speech and she talked about her year in office. In conversation, Julie suggested that we put a formal proposal to the Town Council again that they reconsider having a town flag. This we did, but the Council rejected it, 7 to 3, split along party lines. We still feel that having a town flag would be good for our town but it needs Town Council support. We asked the Council to consider the concept & not have preconceived ideas on the design. However, they dug out our previous design concept & went immediately into detail why they didn’t like it.

Neighbourhood Plan

We were extremely disappointed that the Town Council  decided not to proceed with the development of a Neighbourhood Plan for the Town. Having such a plan in place would enable the community to have a say on how our town develops in the future. It would help determine where future housing developments are and avoid Strawberry How type controversies. It could help avoid inappropriate out of town retail developments that might prejudice our town centre of independent shops. We wrote to the Town Council to this effect and attended the Annual Parish Meeting with others to express our dissatisfaction and to offer our support & involvement for its development. Unfortunately, some council members did not seem to understand the concept of such a plan and naively seemed to think that all planning controversies are behind us & therefore a plan is superfluous. Another issue is that the Council have a rule that they will not reconsider a decision that they have made until after a minimum period of 6 months, unless 7 councillors sign a motion to do so.

We are conscious that there are people outside of the Civic Trust who feel the same way as us, both from responses to articles in the Times & Star and at the Cockermouth Parish Meeting.   We therefore have in mind establishing a 6 month project with others to scope out what a Neighbourhood Plan for Cockermouth might look like, what is involved in putting it together and how much it might cost. The object after 6 months would be to ask the Council to reconsider without being able to deny community support. If they fail to agree, the community will need to consider the way forward from there.

We do not have to start from scratch, there are approved Neighbourhood Plans out there. Morpeth is a good example. Its a market town of 14,000 inhabitants, with independent shops & significant flood risk.

Town Centre Projects

Cumbria County Council are not talking to us, or to the people of Cockermouth either. We had meetings last year when promises were made on work to be done & to keep us informed. Now we are sitting with unanswered letters. Are they going to install a storm drain from Main Street or are they quietly forgetting their unfulfilled investment. Are they going to repair & adopt Market Place whilst maintaining the character achieved with the street and art work. Who knows other than Cumbria County Council?

Spring Clean

Around a dozen members of the Civic Trust turned out to help spruce up the town before Daffodil Day along with Allerdale BC and others. We cleared stones off the Memorial Gardens to allow grass cutting. We removed flood debris from the Eastern side of the Gardens along the river front. We planted flowers in Main Street planters. We cleaned seats in Market Place

Riverside Footpath

Footpaths in the Memorial Gardens are the responsibility of the Town Council. The footpath on the south side, on our town trail, apparently belongs to the individual houses. We are therefore looking at ways to get this path repaired. We are also seeking to get the path adopted by Cumbria County Council as a formal public right of way.
Planning Permissions

We have ob

jected to the proposal for a retail development behind The Lakes Centre on Low Road. It lacks detail and we feel Cockermouth needs an out of town retail development like a hole in the head. It goes against the national need to revitalise town centres like ours. We would support development of this brown field site  but an industrial use would provide a broader employment base for the town’s population.

Civic Day, 18th May

We have an extra castle tour this year for ‘Civic Day’.

And Finally:

Thanks to Brian Coley for all of his excellent photos for the Civic Trust.

Phil Campbell, Chairman

Newsletter 130

·         ‘We were devastated that Cockermouth has been hit yet again and send our sympathy to all affected. Best wishes to all’, Barbara and Peter Colley  (former secretary & architectural adviser to Cockermouth CivicTrust)

·         ‘I’ve been shedding a few tears listening to the news about the town, so soon after the last flood.. I seem to recall that “officials” claimed that it would be a once in a life time event, how wrong. I am thinking about all those affected, some for the second time. I am thinking of you all and listening to the news as things change and hope all my old friends will be safe and well’. Barbara Barker (former Secretary to Cockermouth Civic Trust)

·         ‘I was so sorry to see on the news last night that Cockermouth had been flooded again. You were kind enough to show members of Blackpool Civic Trust around the town 2 or 3 years ago. We saw all the hard work that had gone into the repair and renovation of the town centre. It must be dreadful to experience another flooding again. We are all thinking about you at this difficult time’. Joan Humble, (Chairman Blackpool Civic Trust)

·         ‘We are so sorry about this disaster. What a shock for it to happen so soon after the last flood. I hope that we can do something to help. I am in touch with the authorities. Best wishes’. Max Egremont, (President, Cockermouth Civic Trust).

·         ‘We have all been very shocked by the devastation from the flooding and feel that we here in Petworth must do something to help. My wife and I have a meeting tonight with some friends to start putting some ideas in motion to help your community. I would be very grateful if you could let us know of any specific urgent requirements and whether the Cumbria Community Foundation is the most useful place to send money to. We would like the money to go to Cockermouth from Petworth, but appreciate that this may not be logistically possible in the grand scheme of things. But maybe you have some thoughts? Please be assured that Petworth has Cockermouth and it’s surroundings in their thoughts and prayers’. Chris Kemp, (Chairman of Petworth Town Council).

Lecture Season, 2015/16

A reminder of the remaining lectures of this season, all  on the evening of the first Wednesday of the month at the Friends Meeting House, 7.30pm.

Feb 3rd
Andy Walsh
Real bread – the best thing since sliced bread
Mar 2nd
Phil Brown
Saving Cumbria’s wildlife & wild places
Apr 6th
Will Rawling
Upland farming

Visit by Freddie Gick, Tues 15th March (10.30 am)

Venue – United Reformed Church Rooms

Freddie Gick, Chair of Civic Voice, will be visiting us on Tuesday 15th March. The purpose is for us to inform Freddie on what is happening in Cockermouth and to give us the opportunity to influence Civic Voice thinking and policy. The visit will take the form of a meeting in the United Reformed Church Rooms, where we will discuss Cockermouth Civic Trust and Civic Voice activities, followed by an informal light lunch. Around 12.30, we will then take Freddie on a walking tour of our town, returning in time for the afternoon workshop. Members are invited to attend the meeting & lunch. There will be a charge of £6 for the lunch. If you would like to come, could you please return the appropriate slip.

Freddie Gick is a former research scientist and international management consultant who has been involved with civic societies for about 20 years. He is currently a member of Civic Societies in Cheltenham, Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield. He is the ex Chairman of the West Midlands Amenity Societies Association an Honorary Vice President of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and a Trustee of Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust of which he was Chairman from 2009 to 2012.

War Memorial  Condition Survey Workshop

Tuesday 15th March (2 -4 pm), URC Rooms

On the afternoon of the 15th March, we are hosting a war memorial condition survey workshop, organised through Civic Voice, and lead by Freddie Gick. This is again open to members. If you would like to attend, please return the attached slip. The event will be open to individuals and members of other local societies and organisations.

As the nation reflects on the events of the First World War on the centenary, the opportunity is being taken to ensure that war memorials remain a fitting tribute to the fallen. The Civic Voice project, as part of the national commemorative events, will help conserve and protect the nation’s war memorials for the long term, as well as ensuring that there are skilled volunteers available to assess their condition and take steps to preserve them in the proper way.

Please note that there is no obligation to undertake surveys following the workshop and no specific skills are required. The surveys will be at a similar level to those already undertaken by members of Grade II listed buildings.

Funding is available now to restore war memorials, so now is the time for us to act! We have looked at the Cockermouth Memorial and this is clearly in need of some repair, it is possible to see through the Memorial between the stones. The Town Council, now owners of the Memorial, are aware of this and are progressing a formal inspection & costing of repair.

Annual Lunch, Wednesday 4th May, 12 for 12.30pm

Feedback from last year was that a lunchtime rather than evening meal was a resounding success so we will do the same this year.. We had planned to return to the Trout Hotel, but unfortunately they do not expect to re-open after the flood damage until June. We have therefore booked into Hundith Hill. The menu is on the attached return slip. If you would like to come, please return the slip with the remittance of £21.95 per person. As usual, we hope to have an after dinner speaker but this has not yet been finalised. If you would like a lift there, please indicate this on your return slip.

Car Parking Charges – Allerdale  BC Consultation

We have made the following response to Allerdale BC on behalf of our members:

‘The Civic Trust does accept that it may be reasonable for some overall increase in charges to reflect the low levels of inflation over the past 4 years. However, irrespective of our comments below, we would ask if the Council would consider delaying any increases to allow towns and businesses affected by the recent flooding time to recover.

We would also remind the Council that it is inappropriate to cross fund revenue from parking to other Departmental budgets. In this respect we note that in 2013/14 the Council had a surplus of £171,320.99, so we would wish budgets for future years to be fully transparent so that it is clear how any surplus is spent.

The Council proposes to replace parking ticket machines to a capital cost of £350,000. Presumably, this can be phased over a few years to minimise the capital impact on an individual year?

We would like to raise two specific concerns over the Council’s proposals:

– Firstly, we are concerned about the proposed new imposition of evening and overnight charges. This is not simply a cost of living increase, it is a major cost change for people attending theatre or social events in our town centres, rising from zero charge to up to £5. Clearly this will have a significant impact on both individuals and businesses offering evening entertainment, including on volunteers supporting these activities.  Similarly, we are concerned about the impact on town centre hotels and bed & breakfasts and feel that they will be adversely prejudiced by out of town hotels with free parking like the proposed new Premier Inn. We wonder if the Council have really thought this through.

– Secondly, we are concerned about the totally disproportionate increase in permit charges. We are specifically concerned here about the effect this will have on some small town centre businesses without their own parking. This may be the final nail in the coffin for some businesses, aimed by the Council!’

Confluence Area Project

Ros Earthy represented CCT at a meeting to discuss the redevelopment of the confluence area. This meeting was to outline the project and recognise possible problems. It appears that ownership of the land is shared between Allerdale and Jennings. The aim of this scheme is to provide a quiet landscaped area with seating and a heritage information point. There may also be an art work but this will be provided from a separate fund.

The Civic Trust has long campaigned for improvements to this area of town and its gratifying to see the project go ahead despite the floods. One remit of the project is that everything should be flood proof as far as is practicable. The budget for the project is £16,000, of which £13,000 is being provided by Lovells, the builders of the new housing development on Low Road..

Cockermouth Castle

Clearly we have all been dismayed at the havoc and hardship inflicted by the floods on residents and businesses in Cockermouth, again. One thing we did not anticipate is the landslip into the River Derwent below the castle walls.

What amazed and concerned us is the land slip went back so close to the walls without revealing any supporting bedrock. We immediately reported it to Lord & Lady Egremont who were already aware. We also reported it to Historic England, as the castle is a Grade 1 listed building, and to Allerdale BC in case the building should be considered unsafe.

Work has already been undertaken to protect the castle mound against further erosion. We anticipate that further engineering assessments will now be undertaken  to evaluate the castle wall foundations. The walls have stood for over 600 years and we would expect the Normans to have sought out solid foundations!

Planning Applications

We held a special meeting to discuss 2 significant planning applications for the town:

Premier Inn to replace the Shepherd’s Hotel
Lidls and a new building for West Cumberland Farmers.

Both applicants had previously held consultation sessions, which we attended, and both applicants were receptive to our comments. We recognised from the design perspective, both developments, although not visually exciting, would improve their respective localities. Our remaining concerns were the potential impact on other local businesses, particularly the small independent businesses that make Cockermouth what it is. We can see pros and cons to both developments in this respect and it is a difficult call as to where the balance lies. We decided NOT to object to either proposal, but made a few comments of detail.

We strongly objected to the proposal to erect locked gates between the new development on Sullart Street and the Derwent Street area of town. We felt that they would inappropriately divide our town. We were pleased to see that the proposals have been withdrawn.

Town Centre Projects

Cumbria County Council informed us last year that they intended to both complete the Main Street Storm Drain Project & to carry out the necessary repairs to the Market Place infrastructure in early 2016. We were about to ask for an update from the council when Storm Desmond hit us. We have therefore delayed writing but still intend to ask for a formal update shortly.

Local Listing

We are anticipating final agreement to the local listing process from Allerdale BC this month, (January). Once received, the establishment of the ‘Local List’ can begin!

Assets of Community Value

We have submitted a further application for ‘an asset of community value’. This is for the United Reformed Church Rooms and was prepared in agreement with the church. The reason for the submission is that the rooms are now used by a large number of community groups and activities in town and their loss would be a significant detriment to the town’s social scene.

We would also like to nominate the Kirkgate Centre and have drafted an application. We believe this is a prime candidate but are waiting to see if the Kirkgate Centre management team will give us their formal agreement first.

A further ‘asset’ that we have under consideration for registration is the ‘Greenway’. This is complicated by the fact that it has 3 owners along its length and is so far only designated as a ‘permissive footpath’ rather than a ‘public footpath’.  We are investigating this designation as well.

Annual Trip

Carlisle Civic Trust have invited us for a guided tour of their city. Closer to home than usual, but we plan to take advantage of their invite to find out more about our nearest city than just a shopping venue. We would like to include a visit to Lanercost Priory as well. Plans are yet to be put in place, so wait for the next newsletter.

John Dalton Anniversary

2016 is the 250th anniversary of the birth of John Dalton, one of our famous sons. We have decided that Cockermouth should celebrate this anniversary and to feature John Dalton as part of Heritage Open Days in September, which are very close to his birth date. The Heritage Group have agreed to feature Dalton & his work as part of their summer exhibition & to carry forward a dedicated exhibition for HODs. This will supplement a HODs talk on Dalton at the Kirkgate Centre by Thomas Fletcher Smith, author of the book, ‘John Dalton, A Cumbrian Philosopher’.

The local walking group, ‘the Nuclear Striders’, have also developed a long distance footpath called the John Dalton Way in celebration of this anniversary. This starts in Kings Arms Lane, passes through Eaglesfield where Dalton was born, and goes on to Calder Hall near Seascale, the first commercial atomic power station. They plan to launch the walk in Spring and to include some guided walks along the first stage to Eaglesfield as part of HODs in September. The Town Council have kindly provided the Civic Trust with a grant of £150 towards a plaque to mark the start of the walk.

Have you paid your 2015/16 Membership Fee?

This is addressed to the few members who have yet to pay their 2015/16 membership fee. Unless you pay the fee soon this will be the last Newsletter you will receive. If you are unsure if you have paid or not you can check your membership status by contacting Treasurer Ian Dodsworth on 01900 823599 and he will enlighten you. We will shortly have to pay our subscription to Civic Voice which costs £1.50 per member; so you can see it is important to know the correct number of members at that time.

Free Day Out at a National Trust Property.

As a member of Cockermouth Civic Trust you are eligible to apply to Civic Voice to receive a free day pass, worth up to £14, for entrance to a National Trust property. This can be used by yourself or passed to friends and families. A number of members have already taken up this offer and this is a reminder for those who haven’t. When you consider that you will have only paid £7.50 membership fee this is a bargain offer! The current passes are valid up to 31May 2016 so there is plenty of time to have a free day out. Simply send a request stating you are a member of Cockermouth Civic Trust and including a stamped self-addressed envelope to Amber Palmer at Civic Voice, 60 Duke Street, Liverpool, L1 5AA.

And Finally:

It was devastating for Cockermouth to be so hard hit by the floods yet again, particularly for those directly affected, whether homes or businesses. The new flood defences were never designed to cope with flood water on this scale but thankfully, they did mitigate the effects and the overall impact to some extent. Clearly, one in one hundred year events can repeat in a short time frame, the fact that one flood has happened does not reduce the risk of one tomorrow. However, the science of global warming does predict higher rainfall events and this increase in risk needs to be built into flood assessments and flood protection. We also need to be more innovative nationally in our thinking on our design for flood protection and to be more aware of the negative consequences of our building practices. An example of such lateral thinking has already been implemented in Pickering in Yorkshire, led by their Civic Society, a ‘slowing the flow’ scheme that received a Civic Voice Design award in 2015. This scheme involves a package of measures to slow the rate of run off up stream, such as woodland planting, mini dams, etc..  Clearly, there are lessons to be learnt from Pickering for the Derwent and Cocker catchment areas, and others.

The efforts being put into the recovery of our town centre are to be applauded. It was excellent for the spirit of the town that the lantern parade and Christmas Food Festival went ahead only a week or so after the flood.

Phil Campbell, Chairman


Phil Campbell (Chairman) welcomed 30 members and visitors to the Annual General Meeting.


Apologies:  Barbara Barker, Eleaner Woosey.


Minutes of the meeting of 5th November 2014:

Peter Hubbard proposed that the minutes be accepted as a true record – this was seconded by Ian Dodsworth and passed unanimously.


Matters arising:



Secretary’s Report:                John Dent

The 2014/15 winter programme of lectures was well received by all who attended the events. The annual lunch was held at the Trout Hotel on 22nd April 2015 where the after dinner speaker was from the Lakes Distillery. The annual day trip was to Hoghton Tower and Samlesbury Hall on the 17th June 2015 and was enjoyed by all who went.

Our President Lord Egremont hosted an afternoon for members to visit the Castle on the 27th August 2015 and provided refreshments in the apartments. This was enjoyed by all who attended. We now have a good working relationship with our president Lord Egremont. Lady Egremont designed the planting scheme for Kirkbank and sponsored the plants. We have also been working with the Town Manager, Joe Broomfield on plans to improve the river confluence area.

The Trust has continued to comment on the various planning applications as and when appropriate and is using the “Building for Life” method of assessment. We continue to be pro-active by talking to the developers before any submission for planning permission. We are currently in contact with the planning consultants with regard to the Lidl & WCF development on Station Street. We have also taken up various valid comments with the appropriate authorities with some success.

We are involved in the pilot scheme for Local Listing in Allerdale and have developed the system of nomination forms and assessment processes. A number of properties have been trialled and a report will be considered by the Council’s Executive Committee shortly.

We have also nominated the Memorial Gardens and Harris Park as Assets of Community Value. Allerdale BC have accepted them and placed them on their list.

Fifteen members participated in the survey of Cockermouth’s Grade II listed buildings for English Heritage.

The Trust continued to have involvement in the Main Street repairs and carried out a snagging exercise on 12th November 2014 but is exasperated at the lack of progress and concerned that the Main Street drain outlet has not been completed. We had a meeting with Cumbria County Council but we are still not impressed with their management of the scheme. We campaigned strongly against the introduction of on-street parking charges by Cumbria CC and were rewarded with a successful outcome.

The annual “Walk of Pride” was held on 10th July 2015 with a generally positive assessment. We were able to help the Town Spring Clean Day organised by Joe Broomfield on Friday 26th June 2015.

The Trust continues to be a member of the North West Association of Civic Societies (NWACTS) and of the national Civic Voice. Members of the Executive Committee have attended various meetings organised by Civic Voice and NWACTS including the Civic Voice AGM on 23/24th October 2015. We entered the artworks in Lowther Went and the new Hospital for the new Civic Voice Design Awards but were not successful although the artworks were commended by the assessor.

We hosted Carlisle Civic Trust committee members for an information meeting and a walk round the town. We attended a meeting in Wigton to give advice on forming a new Civic Trust there.

We have met with the new MP Sue Hayman to discuss aspects of Cockermouth.

We continue to participate in the WWI Commemoration Committee.

The Trust has continued to host a website. Publicity throughout the year has been quite good with regular articles in the “Times & Star”.

Proceeds from the sale of the various publications this year have continued to ensure that our membership fees remain affordable, keeping the recent rise to a minimum. The “Walks from Cockermouth” booklet has been checked for accuracy by walking the routes and a revised version produced.

The Trust participated in the “Heritage Open Days” event in September for the seventh year. Six premises, including a Roman Papcastle exhibition, were open on the day plus one lecture.

The Trust has taken various groups round the Town Trail including a party from Higham Hall. The “Britain from Above” project concluded with a guided walk round the Town Trail. Two groups of schoolchildren from Tapton School in Sheffield have been taken on flood related tours. We assisted Joe Broomfield host a visit of people from Hexham looking to learn lessons from our Market Place development. In addition, Castle visits have been hosted in support of the Summer Festival, Georgian Fair and Cumbria Tour Guides in addition to the Heritage Open Days. 

Membership today stands at 96. Currently 62 members are on the email list which saves the Trust printing and postal costs.


Chairman’s Report:   Phil Campbell

Our Secretary has already reported on the detail of our activities over the last year. I would just like to focus on some achievements & key issues for us in the coming year.

We put in a significant amount of effort into opposing the intent of Cumbria County Council to introduce on-street parking charges in Cockermouth, and were clearly pleased with the outcome. To help achieve this outcome we had to resort to formally requesting information from the council under the Freedom of Information Act. It is of concern that current Government proposals to limit the scope & charge for such requests will significantly curtail our ability to undertake similar requests in the future.

We have now made significant progress in developing a ‘Local Heritage List’ for Cockermouth as the pilot area for Allerdale BC. This will continue over the next few months, hopefully through to Allerdale BC adopting it. Now is the time to shout if you wish to nominate anything for the list. Duncan Keeler is taking the lead for us on this.

You will be aware that we have now successfully nominated 2 ‘assets of community value’. We currently have 3 further assets under consideration for nomination.

We continue to keep a watching brief on two County Council projects, the Main Street Storm Drain and the making good and adoption of the Market Place street infrastructure. We have received assurances that both projects will be completed in the early part of the New Year, but still lack full confidence. We are specifically concerned about the council’s intent over the newly installed mosaics.

You will be aware that we have been expressing concern about the rate of approvals of new housing for Cockermouth and our fear that this will not be sustainable and will lead to a significant change in the character of our town; specifically the Allerdale Plan calls for around 550 homes between 2011 and 2030, around 650 have already been approved.  There are other applications in the pipeline such as at Papcastle, plus proposed new commercial developments. Clearly, this continues to be an area that we need to continue to focus on.

We have had a long term interest in improving the area at the confluence of our two rivers. Allerdale BC are now on board & we hope to see improvements there this coming year.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone for their contributions over the last year, elected officers and members. Thanks in particular to Brian & Margaret Coley for arranging the lecture programme for this coming year. I would also like to thank Victor de Quincey for his contribution to the WW1 Commemoration by designing the plaque for the garden by Gote Bridge. I don’t normally specifically mention our officers, but both the Treasurer & Secretary do a lot of work on our behalf behind the scenes. Ian for example not only looks after the accounts, he chases & collects membership fees and manages the book sales. So a big thank you to both John & Ian.


The Chairman invited questions or comments from the floor.

Tom Hughes stated that he was concerned that a number of trees would be felled on the proposed Lidl Supermarket site. He was told that Allerdale BC was responsible for the preservation of trees. However it is not possible to object until after an application is made. Cockermouth Civic Trust would be consulted at that time.

Peter Hubbard stated that he was against yet another supermarket setting up in the town because of the detrimental effect on the local shops. He was told that it was not possible to object until after an application for planning permission has been submitted. He was told that he could object at that time as an individual. Cockermouth Civic Trust is being kept informed of the plans by the Lidl consultants prior to the submission.


Treasurer’s Report:               Ian Dodsworth

The financial year was much as anticipated.

At the year-end our Bank Balance was up from £3557 to £3747.

The Stock of Books was down from £5080 to £4410 reflecting the books sold during the year.

During the year it was decided to purchase a Printer for £86. This has cut our printing costs and will continue to do so by offering more options.

Our Membership subscription had remained at £5.50 for over 10 years and it was decided to increase this for 2015/16 to £7.50. This covers the increase in our outgoings due to the Civic Voice annual membership fee.

Duncan Keeler proposed that the accounts be accepted as a true record and this was seconded by Mary Bradbury and passed unanimously.


Election of Officers and Committee Members:

The present officers Phil Campbell (Chairman), Ian Dodsworth (Treasurer) and John Dent (Secretary) were happy to continue in their roles. There being no other nominations, David Cornwall proposed that the officers be appointed and this was seconded by Duncan Keeler                                 and passed unanimously.

The current committee members, Shirley Campbell, Darren Ward, Duncan Keeler, Brian Coley, Ros Earthy and Margaret Coley were happy to continue. Elizabeth Silman agreed to join the Committee. Their election was proposed by Duncan Keeler and seconded by David Cornwall and this was passed unanimously.


Any other business:



There was no additional business and the meeting closed at 7.45 pm.

Newsletter 129

Welcome to our Summer Newsletter. Time to start thinking about our 2015/16 season, a new set of entertaining lectures and I’m afraid, annual subscription renewal. We have decided to increase the subscription rate slightly for next year. I don’t apologise for this because we have held the rate constant for over 10 years now, despite increases in insurance costs and absorbing the new subscription to Civic Voice. The 2015/16 rate is £7.50 for individuals and £5.00 for  each additional person at the same address. Please do renew by returning the enclosed renewal form, and remember my usual plea to recommend membership to friends, relatives and neighbours!

Our main workload this summer has been progressing Local Listing for Cockermouth, reviewing the need to nominate local buildings as ‘assets of community value’ and undertaking another ‘Walk of Pride’. We have also written to the County Council on two counts, one over our concerns on the non-completion of the Main Street Storm Drains and secondly over the deteriorating condition of the Market Place/Castlegate roadway infrastructure.  An update on all of these is given later in this newsletter.

We have also had a meeting with our new MP, Sue Hayman. The purpose was two-fold, one to discuss the current issues with the County Council and secondly to introduce her to ourselves and to the objectives of Civic Voice at national level. The meeting was very positive and she appeared very supportive of our concerns and specifically promised to write to the County Council supporting our concerns.

It is with sadness that I report the death of Joan Hughes after a long illness. Joan and Tom have been long term active members of the Civic Trust & Joan was a great support to Tom during his period as Chairman.

Lecture Season, 2015/16

Brian & Margaret Coley have taken over the organisation of the new season and I think you will agree that they have come up with an excellent programme. As usual, all lectures will be on the evening of the first Wednesday of the month at the Friends Meeting House, 7.30pm.

Oct 7th
Mervyn Dodd
Iron ore mining of West Cumbria

Nov 4th
Anna Malina
The impact of war – Silloth airfield

Dec 2nd
Jules Brown
What a character – conservation areas

Feb 3rd
Andy Walsh
Real bread – the best thing since sliced bread

Mar 2nd
Phil Brown
Saving Cumbria’s wildlife & wild places

Apr 6th
Will Rawling
Upland farming

Main Street Storm Drain

We wrote to Cumbria CC in June to request a formal update on progress to complete the project to install the Main Street storm drain. We felt it necessary to make this request as we lacked the confidence in the council to complete this important facility for the town.

The new storm drain was originally part of the 2014 project to repair the Main Street infrastructure after the 2009 floods and a very significant amount of public money has already been spent installing the portion of the drains under the street itself, which will be wasted if the project is not completed. We therefore asked:

Does it remain the intention of CCC to complete this project?
If so, what is the current status of the project, and,
What is the current estimate of the completion date?

We also stated that we considered the project to have been poorly managed  & questioned whether it  had been subject to internal and external review and that lessons had been learnt. CCC replied ‘Can I personally assure you that Cumbria County Council is fully committed to completing this important scheme and to ensure the new drainage system for Main Street is completed as soon as reasonably possible’. In order to ‘give us increased confidence’, they arranged for an officer managing the project to meet us. We have subsequently met with Karl Melville of Cumbria CC who was able to inform us that:

  • The storm drain does already have an outlet, albeit small (6 inch), which has been proven to drain to the river.
  • They have already installed remote monitoring in the storm drain & have standby pumps which can be called on if necessary.
  • They still intend to provide the missing link to the storm drain down High Sand Lane, but will bore through at depth rather than hand dig from the surface.
  • They will monitor the stability of the buildings on High Sand Lane both before & during the installation work.
  • High Sand Lane will be fully resurfaced on completion.
  • Consultation with interested parties such as building owners & the Chamber of Trade is still to take place but the work should take place in the new year.

And finally, Cumbria CC still have a snagging list of 62 items from the Main Street project and still intend to follow up on these once the storm drain is fully completed.

Market Place Road Infrastructure

We also wrote to Cumbria CC to ask what their current intentions are regarding the need to repair the road infrastructure in Market Place and Castlegate, because of our concerns that the condition of this infrastructure is continuing to deteriorate without any apparent plan from the council to make it good.

In 2008, the road and pavement infrastructure in the Market Place area was renewed to high standard as part of the Market Place regeneration programme. For whatever reason, no snagging inspection was imposed on completion and, to our knowledge, no early repair work was undertaken. Since that time, the general condition has been allowed to deteriorate. In 2013/14, the County Council informed us that repair of the existing faults on an individual basis was not appropriate and all of the repairs needed to be enveloped within one project. Furthermore, we were led to believe that this project would follow on from the Main Street Refurbishment Project, and that money had been set aside. Clearly, that has not happened. We provided a set of photos to illustrate our point.

A formal reply has not yet been received, but we were able to discuss this issue with Karl Melville of Cumbria CC. He was able to inform us that:
The original work in Market Place was undertaken by Allerdale BC & despite arrangements being put in place, it has not yet been ‘adopted’ by Cumbria CC.
Formal estimates to bring the infrastructure up to the required standard to be adopted have been obtained and a budget is largely, but not yet completely, in place.
It is intended to complete this work by the end of the current financial year.
The mosaics are at risk because there is no money in the budget to repair them & Cumbria Highways do not have a budget to maintain them in the future. An option is to remove the mosaics completely.

We feel that it would be a big loss to the town if the mosaics were lost, but money needs to be found to not only repair them, but maintain them in the future. Clearly this was something not adequately considered at the outset.

Local Listing Project

As you will be aware from previous newsletters, we are leading on identifying and assessing buildings, etc, for consideration for local listing in Cockermouth & district as a pilot area for the whole of Allerdale. Duncan Keeler, as project leader, has established nomination forms and an assessment process which he has agreed with Helen Brownlie, Conservation Officer for Allerdale BC. We are are now trialling the process by individually completing nomination forms for the buildings, (etc), identified a couple of years ago by brain storm at a Civic Trust meeting, and then assessing them by sub committee.  So far, we have taken 18 buildings, (etc), through this process.  This has included,
Village Halls (Papcastle & Brigham)
Barclays & HSBC Banks
Waterloo Street buildings
a disused railway bridge off Low Road
Kirkgate Centre
Pepperpot House
The view down Station Street to open countryside

You might not think that a view could be listed, but it can be if it’s important to the local sense of place. The view down Station Street connects what was a market town with the countryside around it.

If you consider that something in Cockermouth & District should be on the local list, please let someone on the committee know, or better still, ask for a nomination form.

Assets of Community Value

We have been giving consideration to whether there are any community resources in Cockermouth that it would be appropriate to register as an ‘asset of community value’ under the Localism Act of 2011. The right under the act allows community groups such as the Civic Trust to identify assets that are of value to the local community and nominate these for inclusion on a list of such assets, maintained in our case by Allerdale BC. Apart from the public ‘statement’ of being registered as an asset to the community, the real tangible benefit of being registered is that if a listed asset comes up for sale, eligible community groups would have up to 6 months in which to make a bid to buy it.

As a result and with the agreement of Cockermouth Town Council, we have made 2 nominations:
The Memorial Gardens
Harris Park

We have also prepared a submission for the Kirkgate Centre, but are awaiting the formal agreement of the centre before submitting it.

Out of interest, one of the most common assets to be nominated at the moment are village pubs. The Cumbria branch of CAMRA are actively pursuing this in Cumbria.

Rivers Cocker/Derwent Confluence Area

We have had a long term ambition to get the river confluence area improved. It ought to be an asset to the town where locals & visitors can relax and enjoy the junctions of urban and rural scenery as well of the junction of the rivers. It is also on our town trail & at the moment it is a ‘backwater’.

Following the successful re-landscaping of Kirkbank, we had discussions with both Lady Egremont and Joe Broomfield, our Allerdale BC Town Manager, about the prospect of upgrading and landscaping this area. Allerdale BC have now come up with a plan. This includes:
Removing Himalayan balsam & re-establishing native riverside flora.
Re-furbishing the seats
Recovering sandstone blocks & re-work to construct a heritage information point
Provision of a wheelchair access path
Pruning & thinning out trees & shrubs in the eastern corner to integrate with the rest of the area, potentially creating a quiet sitting area
Repairing the boundary wall and refurbishing the bollards.

The plan is excellent, but will of course cost money, possibly around £15,000. It will also be important to maintain it in the future. We hope that it can brought to fruition.

2015 Walk of Pride

10 members of Cockermouth Civic Trust and the Town Manager, Joe Broomfield, undertook this year’s ‘Walk of Pride’ around Cockermouth Town Centre, seeking out areas to be proud of as well as aspects that we would like to see improved. As usual, we found plenty to be proud about in our town. We liked the seasonal floral displays, particularly the hanging baskets, the central island display on Main Street and the planters at the rear of The Bush. The new banners on the lamp posts add character and ambiance to the street and all of the young artists need to be congratulated. The WW1 centenary commemorative garden at the junction of Crown Street & Gote Road is original and imaginative. Shop and building frontages continue to be generally of high standard and we would this year particularly highlight the Brown Cow pub and Children’s Society Charity Shop for commendation.

Of course, we did find areas for improvement. We continue to be disappointed that a few frontages continue to be out of character with our town and the owners either won’t listen or do not understand our concerns. After all, we are simply seeking an attractive town for locals & visitors alike. We will be highlighting buildings where paintwork has significantly deteriorated and where vegetation is growing in the building structure. We understand the need for shopkeepers to use ‘A’ boards, etc to advertise their businesses, but would ask that they give consideration to safe access for pedestrians, particularly push chairs and wheelchairs, and especially on the narrow pavements of Station Street. We are disappointed that the seating in Market Place can’t be maintained in a cleaner overall condition, but would congratulate those shopkeepers who regularly clean them outside of their own shops, showing good community spirit. Finally, the condition of at least 2 of our public phone boxes is appalling with one surrounded by weeds and the other plastered with out of date posters!

Walks from Cockermouth

I’m pleased to say that the 9th revised edition of this booklet is just about ready for printing and will be available later this year. It does now contain 10 walks, including 2 new ones as previously mentioned, the Famous Son’s Walk and Wythop Mill via the 3 Lonnings.

Visit to Hoghton Tower & Samlesbury Hall

We had to limit numbers to 28 this year and ended up with a waiting list, the first time that this has happened! The weather was pretty poor but fortunately this hardly mattered as we were mostly indoors. The trip appeared to be thoroughly enjoyed by all. The guide for Hoghton Tower was possibly our best guide ever, well informed and with a well balanced spiel. After lunch in the Great Hall at Samlesbury, our tour was led by a costumed guide in character, engaging interactively with us. At least 2 of our group ‘died by the sword’ before the tour was over!

Civic Voice Design Awards

We submitted, through Allerdale BC, the artworks in Lowther Went for the new Civic Voice Design Awards. It did not get shortlisted, but it was commended and the Judge’s citation make good reading:

‘No doubt this is a relatively small project in comparison to many of the entries that will be submitted, but it has unquestionably resulted in a noticeable improvement to the look and feel of the Lowther Went area in Cockermouth. What was previously an eyesore building has been transformed into an attractive canvas, with the two artworks enhancing the local environment and showcasing a slice of Cockermouth’s history. What has particularly impressed me about this project is that the idea, drive and means for its completion have come from Cockermouth Civic Trust, an organisation made up wholly of local volunteers. Through member involvement and donations the project has had a big impact whilst costing very little. In relation to the judging criteria for the Civic Voice Design Award this project seems to tick all of the boxes: • The artwork was commissioned from a local artist specifically for the intended location and has been mounted on a material that will stand the test of time. Having said that, each artwork is potentially removable in the future and could be replaced with a new or updated design if necessary. • The artwork captures a small part of Cockermouth’s heritage. • It’s an innovative project that has given an eyesore utility building a new lease of life. • The artwork enhances the local historic built environment and celebrates the architecture of Cockermouth as a whole. • From the initial idea to the artworks being put in place, the project has been delivered by local volunteers and enthusiasts. The town of Cockermouth dates back to Norman times and has a rich architectural history, incorporating a range of attractive Georgian and Victorian properties. The Lowther Went shopping area is a late 20th century development and as such, is somewhat architecturally ‘disconnected’ from the rest of the town centre. This project has, at least to some degree, helped to reconnect this ‘annex’ of the town centre with the historic core of Cockermouth’.

Heritage Open Days, 10th to 13th September

Please don’t forget to support Heritage Open Days this year. The full national programme is on the website and our local programme is on a leaflet available at the TIC. One to definitely go to this year is the final update on the 3 year Roman archaeological dig at Papcastle, (Derventio). This is at the Kirkgate Centre on the Friday at 7.30pm, entrance free but by ticket.

National Trust Day Pass

The summer might be ending, but you can still enjoy a day out on Civic Voice! Since renewing their membership, thousands of civic society members have enjoyed the opportunity of a day out to a National Trust property. With access to hundreds of fantastic properties across England, this gift is available exclusively to members of civic societies by sending an sae to the Civic Voice offices at 60 Duke Street, Liverpool, L1 5AA.

Town Heritage Treasure Hunt

Jane Shepherd produced an excellent heritage treasure hunt for us that we initially used for a visiting Women’s Institute and then again at this year’s Cockermouth Live. Its too good to just throw away so we are making copies available so that anyone can do it in their own time for fun. Copies are available at the TIC, at our first lectures or by request.
Phil Campbell, Chairman

Newsletter 128

Welcome to our Spring Newsletter. The winter season of lectures has now been completed and I would like to take the opportunity to thank Duncan Keeler on behalf of you all for successfully organising our lectures for the past few years. He has now ‘retired’ from this particular task and Brian and Margaret Coley have kindly stepped forward to organise the 2015/16 season, and hopefully beyond. It suddenly doesn’t seem long until our next lecture in October!

A key focus of this newsletter is to publicise our arrangements and ticket sales for our outing to Hoghton Tower and Samlesbury Hall on 17th June. Tickets for this trip are limited and we are inviting Workington Civic Trust members to help ensure that the trip is financially viable. There shouldn’t be a problem with the numbers of tickets, but if you would like to come, it would be helpful if you would return the application slip as soon as possible. Also, although there is no charge for our members visit to Cockermouth Castle on 27th August, we do need to know the numbers coming accurately, so please return that slip in good time as well.

Talking about Cockermouth Castle, Lord & Lady Egremont have been taking significant interest in Cockermouth since taking over the residence following the death of the Dowager. In particular, they have shown their support for ourselves, the Civic Trust. Lady Egremont has provided her skills and finance to support the improvement work at Kirkbank, our view point on the Town Trail. She has also indicated her support for improvement work at the Cocker-Derwent confluence area, something that has long been on our wish list. We have applied for a grant towards this latter improvement. This is a competitive grant, so if we are nominated we will need your votes, so watch out for the publicity.

We were clearly appalled that a Cockermouth resident had brought a successful injunction on his own behalf against the closure of Market Place to traffic for markets! And we were further more appalled that our representative councils did not oppose the case. Their apparent defence that this particular action has little actual consequence does not hold water. For example, one of the quoted reasons for the cancellation of this year’s carnival is fear over an injunction over the required road closure. Can someone bring an injunction against this man bringing injunctions, as he is clearly nor representative of the people of Cockermouth?

Please consider taking part in the Civic Trust ‘Treasure Hunt’ which is being run throughout the Cockermouth Live weekend, 26-27 June. This has been kindly put together by Jane Sheppard. You will be able to pick up an entry form from the festival office throughout the weekend for a nominal entry fee. It is a matter of taking a walk along a trail around the town, answering observational questions as you go. The winning entry will get a book token from the New Bookshop.

It is perhaps timely to point out that £1.50 of your annual subscription goes directly to your and our subscription to Civic Voice. Clearly what we don’t want to be doing, if we can avoid it, is to pay subscriptions for members who haven’t renewed their membership. We are therefore removing from our membership list any members who have not paid for the 2014/15 year.

Visit to Hoghton Tower & Samlesbury Hall
– Wednesday 17th June
Our trip this year is to Hoghton Tower and Samlesbury Hall, both near Preston.
Set in magnificent grounds, situated 650 ft above sea level and approached by a steep drive is Hoghton Tower, a 16th-century Elizabethan fortified manor-house. The ancestral home of the de Hoghton family, Hoghton Tower has been a part of Lancashire’s landscape since 1565.

Samlesbury Hall is a medieval manor house originally built in 1325 by Gilbert de Southworth. It was the primary home of the Southworth family until the 1600s. In more recent years, it has had many uses including a public house and a girls boarding school. It was saved from demolition by a charitable trust in 1925.

During the visit, there will be an opportunity to be served a light lunch of soup & a roll followed by tea/coffee in the Great Hall.

The itinerary for the day will be:
• 08.30 Depart Wakefield Rd car park
• 10.30 Arrive Hoghton Tower & have coffee or tea in coffee shop, (included)
• 11am Guided tour of Hoghton Tower, around 90 minutes.
• 1pm Transfer to Samlesbury Hall
• 1.30pm Lunch in Great Hall (optional)
• 2.15pm Guided tour of Samlesbury Hall with costumed guide. Around 60-90 minutes.
• 4.15pm Depart

The cost of the trip excluding lunch is £26.50 for seniors, £28.50 for adults. If you would like to join us for lunch there is a supplementary cost of £6. If you would like to come, please return the attached ticket application as soon as possible.

Please note that there are stairs to climb to reach the upper floors of both establishments.

Visit to Cockermouth Castle, August 27th
Lord & Lady Egremont have kindly agreed to us organising a special tour around the castle for our members only on the afternoon of Thursday August 27th. There will also be the opportunity to meet them as they anticipate being in residence at the time. Meet at the castle gates at 2pm.
You will be aware that a full tour of the castle requires some agility. However, we should be able to arrange for a reduced tour for those with lesser agility. If you would like this, please indicate this also on the return slip. Also, please return the slip even if you have already indicated your interest.

2015 Walk of Pride, 10th July
You will be aware that we suspended last year’s Walk of Pride due to the roadworks. This year’s walk will start from Kings Arms Lane at 2pm on Friday 10th July & will concentrate on the town centre again. Please come & join us; Joe Broomfield, our Allerdale BC Town Manager, will be there as well. If you have anything in mind that we should look at, good or bad, even if it is not in the town centre, please let us know and we will include it in the ‘walk’. You don’t have to come to nominate somewhere.

Housing Developments
Not much more for me to say on the profusion of housing developments in Cockermouth, except to remind you that we objected to both the Fitz and Strawberry How based on them both being too big, too soon and outside the requirements of the Allerdale Plan Part 1. We subsequently wrote to the Chief Executive of Allerdale BC asking why Allerdale BC have an Allerdale Plan, all at great cost to the ratepayers, if the council do not adhere to it, or even do not appear to refer to it when considering planning applications? We received a reply from Ian Frost as follows:

‘The Local Plan sets out a strategy to deliver at least 304 dwellings per year up to 2029 and the policy provides an indication of the levels of growth across the main towns. It is important to note that the figures for the six main towns are not ceilings and therefore there is a degree of flexibility in terms of the level of growth that takes place, either through the granting of planning permission or allocation of land through the Allerdale Local Plan (part 2).

However, in exercising this flexibility the Council will ensure that the overall Local Plan strategy is maintained and development occurs across all six main towns as opposed to being skewed towards one particular town. When assessing future planning applications for Cockermouth the level of existing consents in the town will be taken into account along with existing infrastructure capacity and local plan policy’.

This does not help with the current situation, but may be a letter to quote in the event of future applications.

Neighbourhood Plan
We have an Allerdale Local Plan and, in Cockermouth, we already have some Neighbourhood Development Orders. Between the two, there is the potential to have a Neighbourhood Plan for Cockermouth. This is something currently being encouraged on a national basis by central government and there is the potential for grant money because of this.

Why have a neighbourhood plan when we already have a Local Plan, especially when the neighbourhood plan cannot contradict the Local Plan? The answer is that the neighbourhood plan gives the community the opportunity to add detail for the local area. For example, where it would be appropriate for future developments.

We feel that it would be good for Cockermouth to develop a neighbourhood plan. It will enable the town to be proactive about its own future, rather than always being on the back foot whenever yet another developer comes along with yet another proposal. It will need the Town Council to take the lead along with the participation of community groups such as the Civic Trust.

Assets of Community Value
A focus of Civic Voice this year is for individual societies to consider the need to nominate ‘assets of community value’ in their area. Classic examples of such ‘assets’ would be pubs, village shops, community centres and public parks, which if they were sold off for alternative use, would represent a significant loss to the community as a whole. If such assets are registered with the Council, (Allerdale in our case), as being of community value, a degree of protection is provided. This means that if the owner of the asset decided to sell, a window of 6 months would be provided for the community to provide a competitive bid.

A key example that we have in mind is the field at the Fitz where the Cockermouth Show is held. If this was sold off to further extend the housing development, this would be a loss to the community. Other examples in Cockermouth might be the Kirkgate Centre, Memorial Gardens, Harris Park. If you have any thoughts, please let us know?

Kirkbank Improvements
When we established our town trail, many years ago now, we decided that Kirkbank was an excellent viewpoint over Cockermouth and we commissioned an interpretation panel here as part of the trail. This was installed 12 years ago in 2003..

Over the intervening years, the trees and vegetation have grown and the views have gradually diminished. We have discussed this with Allerdale BC from time to time, but to no avail.

In October last year, John & Georgina Dent took Lord & Lady Egremont on a tour of our town trail. The Egremonts have shown a keen interest in getting to know Cockermouth. At Kirkbank, Lady Egremont expressed her desire to help improve and landscape this area, utilising her skills in garden design. Following discussions with Allerdale BC, an improvement plan was developed, including a planting plan provided by Lady Egremont. The photo below shows members of the Civic Trust along with Lady Egremont doing some of the planting. Credit for this also goes to Alllerdale BC and All Saints School pupils.

Rivers Cocker/Derwent Confluence Area
In addition to Kirkbank, we have now taken Lady Egremont on an additional walk round Cockermouth with our Town Manager, Joe Broomfield, to determine if there are any other areas that could benefit from landscaping improvement. Our first port of call was the mosaics on the Green Way. These have been very badly damaged and we concluded that they were beyond repair and it would not be cost effective to replace. Better to focus any money on the maintenance of the decorative ironwork on the Green Way bridge. We also discussed the castle embankment above the brewery and whether the visibility of the castle could be improved from this side. Lady Egremont agreed to consider this, and also she would like to seek ways of attracting red squirrels into the castle area.

Our main focus for improvement, however, became the river confluence area beyond Jennings Brewery. A wall has collapsed, the seats are in disrepair, there is a lot of litter on the riverbank and vegetation at the side is overgrown.

We have long since considered this area as being a potential scenic asset for the town and very much in need of tlc. All parties agreed that this should be a joint focus for near term improvement and Allerdale BC have already committed some funding.

As part of its Building Better Communities project, Jewson, one of the largest chains of British general builders’ merchants, is offering communities across the country the chance to win a share of a £100,000 prize which can be spent on anything from a new roof for their village hall, to a much needed coat of paint for a long-forgotten public space. We have submitted an application for the confluence area project.

Walks from Cockermouth, – J.B. Bradbury
You will be aware that a few of us have been re-walking all of the walks in Bernard Bradbury’s ‘Walks from Cockermouth’ to determine if they are all still viable and what changes there have been. The last (8th) edition was in 1985 and we have now decided that there are sufficient changes to warrant a new (9th) edition.

Most of the changes are reasonably cosmetic like new fences and telephone boxes that have been removed. We have decided, however, that we need to withdraw one of the walks, ‘Walk 8 – the Valley of the Derwent below Cockermouth’. This is for 2 reasons. The first is that a section that runs by the Sewage Farm is currently closed with no firm re-opening date. The second is that a section immediately to the south of the A66 is poorly maintained and often virtually impassible.

I am pleased to say that we have developed a new circular walk to replace the existing Walk 8. We will christen this the ‘Famous Sons Walk’ because it will pass the birthplaces of William Wordsworth, Fearon Fallows, Fletcher Christian and John Dalton. In doing so it will head out up the Cocker Valley, back up the Derwent Valley and in between pass through Dubbs Moss Nature Reserve and Brigham.

We also have in mind an additional walk to round things off at 10 walks. This will include Wythop Mill and the Green and Seacross Lonnings.

Grade II Listed Building Surveys
Around 15 of our members participated in the survey of the Grade II listed buildings in Cockermouth on behalf of English Heritage. I believe this was a successful exercise and thanks go out to all. The buildings surveyed represent only a proportion of the Grade II listed buildings in our area as it was undertaken as a trial. No doubt there will be future opportunities for further surveys as the full programme is rolled out.

Visitors to Cockermouth
We assisted Joe Broomfield host a visit of people from Hexham who were interested in the Cockermouth Market Place development and how lessons could be transferred to their town. The group consisted of councillors, civic trust members, shop keepers, etc.

In March we took two groups of 24 pupils from Tapton School in Sheffield round our town, focusing on the impact of the 2009 flood and flood protection. The pupils were on a geography field trip based in Ambleside.

Phil Campbell, Chairman

17TH JUNE 2015

Please return this form along with a cheque made out to ‘Cockermouth Civic Trust’, to Shirley Campbell, Cockermouth Civic Trust, 27 The Mount, Papcastle, Cockermouth, CA13 0JY. A self-addressed envelope would be appreciated.

Your Name & Address & telephone no.

Number of tickets required

________ seniors at £26.50

_________ adults at £28.50

Tickets for Lunch
_________ number of lunches, soup & roll plus tea or coffee at £6pp

Please state any diet issues such as vegetarian, coeliac, et.


Total money enclosed: £________________.

Pick up point is in Wakefield Road car park at 8.30am


Please return this form to Shirley Campbell, Cockermouth Civic Trust, 27 The Mount, Papcastle, Cockermouth, CA13 0JY. PLEASE NOTE NO TICKETS WILL BE ISSUED

Your Names, Address & telephone no.

Number of reservations required

________ (members only)

Please state if reduced tour required due to agility______________________________
Meet at Castle gates at 2pm

Group Visits to Cockermouth

Since the 2009 floods in Cockermouth, the Civic Trust has taken numerous groups, both children and adults, round the town showing them how and why the floods happened and the new flood defences to protect the town from future floods. Without exception all are amazed to see the height of the various flood level markers in Main Street  and very interested in the extensive flood defences now in place.

The latest group taken on the tour were geography students from Tapton School near Sheffield. They had two groups of around 24 students on a week’s geography field trip to the area staying in Ambleside. They visited Cockermouth on two consecutive Fridays and three members each took eight students round the tour each day.

Broup Visits to Cockermouth IMG_2004 IMG_2005 IMG_2006

Newsletter 127

The committee would like to wish all of our members a happy new year for 2015. We certainly hope that it will be a good year for Cockermouth after all of the pains from the Main Street road works in 2014. Certainly the Christmas festivities and the lantern festival seem to have returned some heart to our town and we hope this continues through the New Year. We look forward to seeing you in our Main Street shops!

All of the roadwork pain is not yet over of course. The new storm drains in Main Street have not yet been connected to the river along High Sand Lane and we hope that the County Council speedily complete this to give the town the full benefit of the investment. Also, the County Council are due to implement repair and maintenance work to the highway in Market place.

We were clearly very pleased with the County Council announcement that they have abandoned plans to introduce on street parking charges in a number of towns across the county. We have campaigned strongly against this as, in our view, such a scheme in Cockermouth would be detrimental to the health of our town centre. We like to think that our campaign has significantly contributed to the council decision.

In contrast, we are disappointed at the number of new housing developments that have been approved for Cockermouth in such a short time period. Whilst we consider Strawberry How to be a good quality development, we are very concerned about the rate of change and the potential adverse effect that this will have on the infrastructure and ambiance of the town that makes it what it is. We wonder what the point is in Allerdale BC having a Local Plan if they do not use it! Something we will be talking about a lot more!

There was a very full house for the Bernard Bradbury Memorial lecture in September and everyone was rewarded by a very informative illustrated talk on Lakeland architecture. It certainly makes me look at traditional buildings in our area with added interest when I am out and about. Heritage Open Days were also successful but numbers attending have gradually fallen, perhaps because many of the locations have now been open for HODS for a number of years. Ideas for new venues or activities would be very much appreciated.

And so to 2015. I remind you that our lecture season continues on 4th February with the story of a Barrow Housewife during the war. We have arranged our annual dinner for Wednesday 22nd April at the Trout, this year at lunchtime after a poll at one of our lectures. We are looking to arrange our annual trip in June, this year to visit Hoghton Tower & Samlesbury Hall, both near Preston. We are arranging a tour of the castle for our members in late August with the opportunity to meet Lord & Lady Egremont. A short term focus for 2015 will be the Grade II listed building inspections for which we have 16 volunteers. Longer term, we hope to embark on creating the Local List for Cockermouth, now that we have agreement from Allerdale BC.



Our AGM was held on 5th November. No fireworks, but we reported in detail on our activities last year and our objectives for 2015. Your officers were re-elected unopposed. Rebecca Hanson resigned from committee due to other commitments and we thank her for her contributions over the last couple of years. Two additional members were voted on to committee, Ros Earthy and Margaret Coley.

Subscription Renewal

Just a reminder to renew your subscription for this year in case you have forgotten to do so. The annual fee again remains unchanged at £5.50, and £5 for every additional member in the same household. We need you!


2014/15 Lecture Meeting Programme

A reminder of our remaining lectures for this season:

4th Feb – ‘Nella Last – the War of a Barrow Housewife’, by Pat Martin, Helena Thompson Museum

4th Mar – ‘Tales of the Special Constabulary’, by Alan Gane.

1st Apr – ‘The Origins of the Historic Scottish Counties’, by Dr Philip Tibbetts

Annual Dinner, Wednesday 22nd April

We have decided to hold this year’s dinner at the Trout at lunchtime, 12 noon for 12.30 on Wednesday 22nd April. The cost is £19.50 per person. If you are interested in coming, could you please complete the attached menu request & send along with your remittance.


Visit to Cockermouth Castle, August

Lord & Lady Egremont have kindly agreed to us organising a special tour around the castle for our members only, sometime in late August. We hope that there will also be the opportunity to meet them as they anticipate being in residence at the time. Although we haven’t agreed an exact date yet, it would be helpful if you could express interest by returning the attached slip now. This will give us some idea of numbers now so that we can plan accordingly.

You will be aware that a full tour of the castle requires some agility. However, we should be able to arrange for a reduced tour for those with lesser agility. If you would like this, please indicate this also on the return slip.


Lord & Lady Egremont

You may be aware that Lord Egremont has been President of Cockermouth Civic Trust since it’s beginnings. However, they live at Petworth House in Sussex and have, until recently, regarded Cockermouth Castle as a home of the Dowager. This has meant that there has been little interaction between the Trust and its President.

Lord & Lady Egremont now intend visiting Cockermouth regularly throughout the year and regard the castle as their ‘tranquil retreat’. This now gives us the opportunity to engage with both of them more.

To date, we have given them both a tour around our town trail and a walk through our tour of their castle. Lady Egremont in particular has shown interest in ways she might be able to help Cockermouth. For example, on seeing how trees have obscured the views at Kirkbank on the Town trail, she has used her landscaping skills to advise the council on improving this area and work should be carried out early in the New year. We are also advising her on where other areas of improvement would be beneficial to the town.

Main Street Planters

We were very disappointed to see the old concrete planters returned to the centre of Main Street, albeit pressure washed. We had expected new planters to be provided, in keeping with the new paving. Indeed, Allerdale BC had offered at least part funding for this. Alas, our town councillors decided that they are happy with the current ones. Perhaps you should be writing to your councillors?


Main Street Snagging

On the completion of the principle work for the Main Street Improvement Scheme, we decided to carry out our own snagging inspection and provided the results to Cumbria County Council. We were keen that faults were not overlooked and then to find out that its too late to do anything.

The most visual problems were pools of rainwater at a number of locations, but particularly on the zebra crossing near Boots. There were marks on the pavement caused by shoes and tyres crossing wet tarmac. Down pipes from the buildings had not been reconnected properly to the drains at the shop fronts. Different techniques had been used for the paving grouting in areas adjacent to each other, sometimes flush, sometimes recessed, giving an unprofessional finish. In many places, the contractors have used concrete as an easy option rather than cutting the paving slabs to give the required finish, as in the picture above. It was also understood that the County Council would make good the paving on the south side of the street, removing trip hazards and replacing broken slabs – this has not happened at all.


On-street Parking charges

I know that the proposed imposition of on-street parking charges is history, but for the record, through a series of exchanges of letters with the County Council, we established that:

  • The council had not considered any financial implications for town centre businesses
  • Their traffic survey which they said supported the need for charges, when examined did not support it at all. (For Cockermouth)
  • Their quoted reference stating that there was public support for charges, when examined did the opposite. (for Cockermouth).
  • The council had ‘no accounts presently available’ to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of parking charges.

In September, we wrote to the council stating that we considered that we in Cockermouth were now in a position to petition for a formal review of parking in our town centre, (taking the above into account).

The lessons from the above are perhaps not to take council statements as gospel, and to challenge whenever appropriate!


Britain from Above

We finished the Britain from Above project with a guided walk around the town trail, highlighting the information identified through the earlier open sessions. An information sheet has been produced as an addendum to the town trail, copies of which can be obtained from the TIC. Also available at the TIC are a limited number of postcards depicting ‘Cockermouth from above’.

You can still add information onto the Britain from Above website relating to anything depicted on the aerial photographs of Cockermouth. In this way, the website will develop into an archive of historical information – which could be lost for ever if you don’t tell it!



Carlisle Civic Trust

We hosted a joint meeting with the committee of Carlisle Civic Trust where we informed them of our activities and then took them on a guided walk around town. We hope that this will lead to closer liaison between the two societies and we have been invited to make a return visit to them.

Wigton Civic Society

A new Civic society is currently being formed in Wigton, great news after the demise of other societies locally. It will be officially launched in February. Members of our Trust attended a preliminary workshop and provided information on our activities. We look forward to working with Wigton in the future.


Pop Up Bookshop

We ran a pop up bookshop on Market Place for the Christmas period, starting at the lantern festival and organised by Ian Dodsworth, principally to sell our Civic Trust books. The rental was kindly paid for through Ian organising a sale of second hand books. Overall, this provided £166.50 income to the Civic Trust funds.


Oakhurst Filling Station Development

You may be aware that the plans for this development have now been approved. We do believe that we have had a positive influence on the final plans by being involved at an early stage.

We continue to have a dialogue with the owners. We are trying to achieve some linkage for the station with Cockermouth itself, perhaps to encourage some passers by to stop & visit our town. One idea is to have a wall sized photograph of the town centre in the café, as shown on this illustration, which is based on a Euro Garages café elsewhere.

World War 1 Commemorations

We have contributed to the planning for Cockermouth’s WW1 commemorations by Shirley Campbell representing us on the organising committee. To date, the Museum Group have organised their summer exhibition on a WW1 theme. We organised a lecture about supplying food to the soldiers during the war as part of HODS. We were formally represented at the commemoration service at the Cenotaph on 3rd August and laid a wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. Victor de Quincy has designed a plaque for the planned WW1 memorial garden.

The WW1 committee also submitted an application for a grant to cover the expense of running other commemorative activities. Unfortunately, this bid was unsuccessful. Consideration is being given to resubmitting a more focused bid.


Civic Voice Design Award

Civic Voice has called on communities to nominate buildings and schemes for projects that they consider make a significant contribution to the quality of their built environment. Nominations can include new buildings, historic buildings that have been reused or refurbished and public realm schemes that enhance the civic realm. This award scheme differs from many in that it is community based rather than based on professionals judging other professionals.

We have decided to nominate the new Cockermouth Community Hospital and Health Centre Building. As reported in our last newsletter, we have already presented it with our own ‘Certificate of Commendation’.

Although only a small project, we decided that the renovation of the Electricity Substation in Lowther Went and its artwork is worthy of submission. Since we led this project, Allerdale BC have agreed to nominate it.


Civic Voice Manifesto

Civic Voice has now produced ‘our’ manifesto called ‘Localism for Real’. Its production is timed for input into the General Election Campaign to encourage the political parties to ‘buy in’ to its objectives. The manifesto has been produced based on a discussion with member societies as to the priorities we would like to see at national level during the next government period of 5 years.

The key elements that the manifesto is looking for from the next Government are to:

  1. Make improving the quality of the public realm in our cities, towns and villages a priority
  2. Give all citizens opportunities to actively shape the future of their place
  3. Give local communities the powers they need to enable their town and city centres to prosper

More details on each of these objectives, including key measures, are contained in the executive summary, a few copies of which are held by your committee members. If you would like a copy of your own, this can be obtained on line by going to


Brigham Road Development

We undertook a Building for Life assessment on the proposed development at the end of Brigham Road. The assessment achieved 6 ‘green’, 4 ‘amber’ and 0 ‘red’ results. Overall we considered that the site is appropriate for development, but feel the actual plans are mediocre and lack inspiration. However, we decided not to object, but to ask that the detailed comments arising from our assessment be taken into account.


Condition Survey of Places of Worship

We have been asked if any of our members would be interested in helping Cumbrian Places of Worship undertake a baseline condition survey of their buildings. No specialist building expertise is needed but volunteers will be asked to attend a training day on how to use the yes/no visual survey check-list. All surveys will be at ground level! The training days will be in early 2015 and surveying will be undertaken throughout 2015 and 2016. It will be up to each individual as to how many surveys they are involved in. If you are interested or want further information, please contact Sue Manson on 07776 197143 (Mon to Wed) or


Isel Hall

We record with sadness the death of Mary Burkett of Isel Hall. Mary was a long term member and supporter of Cockermouth Civic Trust.


Cockermouth Civic Trust – Annual Lunch

Wednesday 22nd April 2015 – Trout Hotel -12 noon for 12.30pm


Our LUNCH this year will be at the Trout Hotel, Cockermouth on Wednesday 22nd April, 12 noon for 12.30pm. The cost per person will be £19.50. If you would like to come, please return this sheet to Shirley Campbell along with a cheque payable to Cockermouth Civic Trust, indicating your menu choices. Please remember to keep a record of what you have chosen. Address to send to is 27 The Mount, Papcastle, Cockermouth, CA13 0JY. A self-addressed envelope would be appreciated.


Starter Melon, Grape & Pineapple Cocktail, Fruit Sorbet & Coulis
Prawn Cocktail, Lemon, Marie Rose Sauce, Brown Bread & Butter
Ham Hock Terrine, Westmorland Chutney, Malty Seeded Toast
Soup of the Day, Herb & Garlic Croutons
Main* Pork Fillet, Wholegrain Mustard Sauce
Highgate Chicken Breast, Mushroom & Herb Sauce
Gilcrux Trout Fillet, Lemon Horseradish Butter
Vegetable Crepe, Bechamel Sauce, Italian Hard Cheese Shavings, Green Salad
Sweet Eton Mess
Fresh Fruit Salad & Chantilly Cream
Lemon Posset, Raspberry Coulis, Shortbread Biscuit
Sticky Toffee Ice Cream with Butterscotch Sauce
Freshly Filtered Coffee with Mint Crisps

* All main courses are served with Potatoes & Seasonal Vegetables


NAME: ______________________________________







NUMBER OF TICKETS AT £19.50_______ AMOUNT ENCLOSED: £_________






I/we are interested in attending the member’s visit to Cockermouth Castle at the end of August. (We have not agreed a fixed date yet, but it is important that we get a provisional idea of numbers).