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