Goods Yard Forum

The forum was set up  for villagers to share their views on the Planning Application to build 17 homes and a children's nursery on the Old Goods Yard site.  This planning application was later withdrawn with a new plan due to be submitted shortly.  A village meeting was held on 19th May during which John & Helga Barr presented the new plan and listened to the views of villagers.

If you would like to share your views with other villagers, please send them to me:  I will add them to this page and alert the village through the Nobbut Email Service every time a new comment is added.

Notes of Goods Yard Planning Proposal Village Meeting held on 6th Jan 2014
in the Schoolroom are attached at the bottom of this page.  Click on it to open.

Your comments sent in to the Nobbut will be added below:
I have rearranged the comments into two columns:
Comments on original plan of Dec 2013
Planning application later withdraw
This column is now closed

The letter referred to by  Keith Aitchison 
in his email to me (Nobbut) and posted to the houses most affected around the development:

Torver Planning Application

As you probably already know, a planning application has been submitted for 17 “affordable” houses, children’s nursery and playground on the Coal Yard/Storage land across the main road opposite Green Cottages.

I am writing because I am concerned that the timing of the application over the Christmas holiday seems designed to deliberately limit the opportunity for people to meet the LDNPA timetable for objections. This is 28 days from 10 December-i.e strictly 7th January.

The application which has helpfully been accessed and publicised by Nobbut Torver (thanks David) can be viewed easily from the link at

It is perhaps no coincidence that the site was cleared last year ahead of the planning application which now states there are no trees or hedges affected by it.

The Parish Council have announced a public meeting on 6 January to “inform them of the views of the village”. This is ahead of the Parish Council meeting on 9th January. I understand they will press for an extension of the consultation deadline. However this may not be granted.

It is therefore important that if you have a view on this development you do not rely on the Parish Council making it for you, but submit your objection direct to the LDNPA yourself before the current earliest due date of 7th January to be sure of inclusion.

As I understand it from talking to people in the village, there may be at least some on the Parish Council who support this application. I stress that I have not heard that direct from anyone on the PC. This would however be a surprise to me for several reasons since in my view:

It is a massive overprovision of the Parish Councils own survey of housing need for the village as contained in the Parish Plan.

A big part of the justification for the application is as housing provision for Coniston, yet several of the proposed local housing sites which are identified in the Coniston Parish Plan remain unused

When the Butcher Moss site was developed, it was clearly designed with the possibility of expansion in mind should a future need be identified

The two plot housing site at Kitchen Syke in Torver remains unused.

If approved , the Coal Yard will be an eyesore development of a gateway site to the village which will severely detract from the character of Torver

The proposed access from the new development onto the main road is dangerous and a similar proposed access from Butcher Moss was rejected on safety grounds.

I am well aware of the need for affordable homes for local people and supported such development prior to Butcher Moss for this purpose. If there is a proven demand for more in Torver now I am in favour of that too. I am not in favour of this eyesore development ; we should not be taken in by its tag of “phased” development; if approved it will happen.

I urge you to make your views known direct to the planning authority and also separately to the Parish Council. If you would like to get together to discuss how best to object to this application I am happy to convene an informal meeting before 6th January. Please let me know either by phone, email or just call in.

Have a good Christmas and I’m sorry to bother you with this at this time. Clearly the developer left no choice.

Keith Aitchison,    7 Green Cottages.    015394 49581

From Chris Bradley:

It is important that the Torver community is fully informed about the process by which the Parish Council will decide its response to the National Park planning authority in relation to the proposed development of the Goods Yard.  The Torver Parish Council (TPC) has been granted a short extension to the statutory consultation period, so that the planned meeting of the TPC on 9th January can agree the response and this will be considered by the planning authority in coming to their decision. This extension does not apply to individuals, so it is very important that members of the village who wish to express a personal view to the planners do so as soon as possible, the greater the number of responses, the better.

It is the duty of the TPC to represent the wishes of the community.  The Parish Plan survey included questions about affordable housing provision and the TPC is aware of the results of recent housing needs surveys in both Coniston and Torver, all of which will inform our discussion on the 9th.  The village meeting arranged for 6th January will be an opportunity for everyone to have their opinions heard. Plans for the housing development will be available for viewing an hour before the meeting begins, so villagers who cannot access these via the internet can see a paper copy.

We would like to encourage as many people as possible to attend Monday's meeting, the greater the participation, the more weight the Parish Council response will carry.

From Kevin Cooper

Plans like this are a must to keep small communities healthy, with the high cost of local homes these new homes will give young local people the chance to stay in the place where they grew up and work.  Unfortunately new homes like this are too late for some of us as both me and my brother had to move away from Coniston as we could not afford to buy in the village, most of my age group has moved away from the village because of the lack of homes available leaving a age gap in the community. 

I sincerely hope you allow this plan to go ahead to stop the further decline of locals leaving the area resulting in low trades for local shops, pubs and businesses.  It is all to easy for people who have moved to this area from away to say they don't want the area to change, but this area would not be what it is with the locals!  So without them the area will eventually turn in to ghost towns with passing trade in the summer months and will be dead throughout the rest of the year. 

Please allow us to live where we where born and bred.

From Joan Wilson
        the text of her letter to the Planning Board:

Letter in Support of Outline Planning Application 
        Ref: 7/2013/5698 
Location: Storage land, Torver, Coniston, 
        LA21 8BQ 
Phased development of 17 affordable houses, children’s nursery and community playground 

I have lived and worked in the village of Torver from 1955; formerly at Hoathwaite Farm and more recently (since March 2012) at Butcher Moss. During this time my family farmed and ran the camp site at Hoathwaite Farm for 54 years, from 1955 to 2009; I am now retired. 

Today most of the houses in our village have become second homes / holiday homes. There are now only 2 children of school age in the village; in 1955 there were 42 children. 

For this reason I feel very strongly that this proposed, attractive development of family homes, for local people, should be permitted, as this will help to keep the village alive throughout the year. I most sincerely hope that the Officers and Councillors of LDNPA will support this application and that Planning Permission will be granted. 

I am greatly saddened by the fact that Torver Parish Council are objecting to this application. Currently it appears that, if you accept their arguments against this Application; then when my generation dies, virtually all the housing will become holiday homes, which will sit empty for most of the year, and community life in Torver will be dead. 

Yours sincerely,   Joan Wilson


Comments on the new plan - May 2014
Planning application to be submitted following a village 
meeting on Monday 19th May in the Schoolroom

From David Rogers:    (3rd May 2014)

As administrator of the Nobbut and the Website I was inclined not to comment in this (staying impartial), but I am a villager and with a renewed application coming up for discussion on 19th May in the Schoolroom I have decided to offer my views. Particulary I want to comment on some of the objections that were placed at the village meeting held on 6th January.

It was said that the new development would be an "eyesore". I mean no disrespect to Mr Barr but compared to what is there now? As eyesores go it's kept pretty tidy but pretty it ain't and replacing it with a small estate of well designed homes, green areas, gardens, would be a vast improvement.

On the proposed nursery it was said that there is no need because we already have a hall. Then we would have another, a properly equipped nursery for the new families coming to the development and, perhaps, for other purposes. Why not?

It was said that there is already a nursery in Coniston. So the young, probably struggling family, moving into a new house, Mum caring for the children while Dad goes off to work, or maybe both working, which of the family's fleet of cars would she choose to get the kids to Coniston? No, they'd have one car and she would have the choice of walking them in or waiting for the weekly bus.

It was said there would be no-one qualified to run it. Just like there is no-one qualified to run the Schoolroom, mow the village grass verges, sit on the Parish Council or, dare I say, administer this website. I would imagine the parents would get together to share the task as volunteers or employ someone. Hardly a reason to dump on the whole idea.

It was said that access to the main road would be dangerous. Why? There are already three access points along that stretch and another on a straight stretch with clear visibility both ways would probably be the safest in Torver.

It was said that Butcher Moss could be extended.  Is that being planned? Has an application been submitted? And if it happens there's a good chance we will have even more children coming to this retirement home. Perhaps we should try a little game that involves standing in the village centre for an hour after school's out with a note book or camera to record the results. It's called 'Spot the Child'. There's a really awful song from the 1980's that begins "I believe the children are our future". If that's true Torver doesn't have a future.

It was said that the new development would provide housing for Coniston.  Good!  Twenty five years ago we came here from London via Essex, Cambridgeshire and Waberthwaite, and most of the rest of Torver's people came from somewhere else. But we are all Torver now.  When those young families arrive from Coniston (or Hawkshead, or Barrow or Timbuctoo, who cares!) they will become Torver people, just like us.

I know we want to preserve the character of our village, keep things as they are and sleep away our dying days in peace and solitude, but think of all the wonderful things Torver used to do - children's sports days, jubilee celebrations, bonfire parties, remember the pram race? All gone because the people who organised them got old and the children who ran the three-legged race grew up and left the village for good because the 'affordable homes' we had (Green Cottages?) were sold off for second homes and holiday lets and they couldn't afford to live here. We need young people, young families, new life, to prevent our village becoming that 'open space' we all protested about years ago, a small group of houses to let for Summer visitors and boarded up for the rest of the year. 

We have been offered another chance and we need this development if only so that in the years ahead there will be people in Torver young enough and fit enough to dig our graves for us.

From Keith Aitcheson:    (5th May 2014)  

Its good to see that John and Helga Barr are consulting the village (or more correctly hamlet as we have  learned during this process)  on their latest proposal for the Goods Yard  before submitting it as a planning application;  I for one thank them for that.

Hopefully what will be revealed at the village meeting on 19th will be what those present at the previous village meeting seemed to want  i.e an attractive, small scale development that meets Torver's housing need, compliments rather than dominates the centre of the village (hamlet) and is affordable and protected for local people to be able to buy or build a home here.  I sincerely hope that is what is unveiled so that it can be  supported by all of us who want to see Torver thrive as a living year round community.  I also hope that the new plans retain some employment on the site so that jobs that support the families that want the homes can be created and make the  idea of a children's nursery feasible.  That said, the newly refurbished Schoolroom would seem to me to be equally attractive as a playgroup or nursery venue when one becomes needed.

Here's looking forward positively to what may now be proposed.

From Keith Aitchison  (19th August 2014)  

I am writing to let all in Torver know what has come to light in correspondence I have had this week with the local authority in respect of the Coal Yard site planning application. 

The planning application  has been changed to include "the removal of two trees" . The accompanying plan however shows the removal of four trees. The original planning application, on which we were all invited to comment, specifically stated  at Section 15 that there were no trees or hedges on the site. Section 15 also states that "there are no trees or hedges on land adjacent to the development site that could influence the development or might be important as part of the local landscape character".
I have been told that a report and recommendation to Delegate to Head of Development Management to approve the application subject to a legal agreement; conditions and no substantive objections from the Highway Authority was prepared on 11th August by Mairi Lock.

The day after this report and recommendation was written, a letter was sent to some of us in Torver  notifying us that an amended  plan for the Coal Yard site had been submitted and that two, not four,  trees were proposed to be removed.  We have been invited to submit further comments on the application by 29 August 2014. In fact the accompanying highway plan shows four trees to be removed.

If this application is approved without amendment, the main impact of the removal of these trees will be on those in Green Cottages but there will also be a significant impact on the visual and wildlife amenity on the entrance to Torver along the "Torver motorway".

If you feel that it is wrong to allow the removal of any trees, particularly as this was implied not to be necessary in the original application, then please write to or email  the planning authority stating your opposition to  Mr Paul  Haggin who  is the Management Development Team Leader. He has assured me that should any further views be received between now and when his Committee meets to decide the application he will ensure that they are reported to the Committee.
email address:
Postal address: Lake District National Park Authority, Murley Moss, Oxenholme Road, Kendal, Cumbria,LA9 7RL quoting reference 7/2014/5329.

This could, after all, be the thin end of a very unpleasant wedge.

From Carole Barr  (20th August 2014)  

Thank you Keith for keeping us updated about the felling of two trees, which from the plan look to me to be those in Highways land, to accommodate the Goods Yard proposal. When the Torver Trail was put in we had to remove some trees but in the scheme of things the amenity we have now makes up for it.
Obviously the main visual impact of removing the two trees in question will be on the residents of Green Cottages, especially the two properties, who live there full time. You may also know that there is 500 tonnes of wood to be removed from Scar Head Wood and major felling work to start in Dickinson Wood. The visual impact of that will be obvious to us all, not to mention the impact on the wildlife. Far greater than the impact of the removal of two trees in the grass verge outside the Goods Yard. Interestingly, it is the first time anyone has come to the defence of those Highways trees, usually people are complaining about them overhanging into the road.
The woods when they have been felled will be replanted eventually, regeneration being the key. As for being "the thin end of a very unpleasant wedge" some might say the thin edge of the wedge is not the removal of two trees but the gradual decline of our communities.
All good stuff for debate on a winters night in front of our log fires.Wood from sustainable forests no doubt.

From Keith Aitchison (20th August 2014) 

Just to correct Carole's observation in response to mine. It appears from the new plan that four , not two trees are proposed to be felled to create a new access to the development site . 

Carole also  draws  interesting comparisons with the Torver Trail work,  a sympathetic construction and undoubted benefit to the wider community,  and the work on Scarr Head and Dickinson Woods, which , as she points out , will be "replanted eventually, regeneration being the key". That is certainly not the case with the Goods Yard development. This will hopefully provide some much needed, affordable housing for families, but will certainly not in its present proposed form be sympathetically designed nor regenerate woodland.

That said , I have spoken, not just with the two full time residents  , but also the other permanent regular residents of Green Cottages who have been coming here  for several years. Non of us  want to see Torver spoilt by an unnecessarily large development that is unsympathetically delivered. I believe we are all in agreement that the scale and design of the development planned is still excessive for the needs of Torver. 

I don't think any of us have argued with Carole's strong and commendable desire to help the sustainability of Torver.; we share it. That is why I personally have always stated my support for a small development which meets that need. Somethings, however, are worth more than profit, though I also recognise the need for the developer to make a good return on his investment. 

Perhaps in this case the answer is, save the four trees and remove the loss of amenity to all in Torver, whether permanent, part time or just visiting and create a smaller, more sympathetic design. Speaking personally , I can't see why a new access to the site is needed in the first place as the existing one would be perfectly feasible. 

If you agree with this point of view I again urge you to write to  the planning authority again as they assure me that your views will be put before the committee which meets to  approve this development.  It certainly looks at this stage as if the development as planned has been recommended for approval .Your letter or email needs to be with them by 29 August. A decision is due to be made on 3 September.

I have also this morning received a further email from the planning authority  in which they state :

"As far as we are concerned the rest of the employment site is to remain in employment use. Any change to that would require a planning application. At the present time we would seek to retain an employment site. It is not possible to say whether that would still be the case in 10 years time and would depend upon whether there are any changes in policy and housing need in the locality in the future."

I interpret this to mean that any developer can, at any time, seek to further develop the rest of the site as housing and that application would be judged in the the light of then current county, not local,  policy and housing need. Given that there is very little defined housing need now and yet the present housing proposal looks like being approved, I would not bet much on a future housing application being rejected so we could be back to the large housing development previously applied for. 

From Carole Barr  (20th August 2014) 

Apologies Keith, my response was in reply to yours about the removal of "two trees" and your concern about the impact visually and on wildlife. Clearly, your objection to the removal of the trees is part of your general objection to the Goods Yard application, the reasons for which you have now outlined to us all.
Of course, the Goods Yard application is not about regenerating woodland. Although I'm sure replacement trees could be planted.
Is not providing "some much needed, affordable housing for families" you mention not regeneration of the village?
Just as a correction I made reference to "the two properties, who live in Green Cottages full time" not "two residents".
There was a lot of comment about the access to Butcher Moss, people generally felt it should have been onto the main road in front of the development, such as John is proposing for the Goods Yard. It would certainly seem to be unwise to take people out through the employment end of the Goods Yard. Also taking everyone passed the full time residents at Shepherds View seems rather unfair. There was also a lot of support for housing development on the Goods Yard rather than Butcher Moss field. How things change or do memories get shorter?
Despite the rumour I don't have a crystal ball so I can't see what the future holds for Torver. Whether the number of residents will continue to decline? Or if I reach the average age of the residents in the village now, will there be enough of us to enjoy the spectacular landscape we live in? I hope that there is thriving village and that the only place to find our full time residents is not the graveyard.
I'm sure everyone shares the desire for a thriving village now and in the future but we all know the pressures small communities like ours face. We can't reverse the trend of second home ownership or the explosion of holiday lets and even if we could there aren't the services and facilities to support our villages like there used to be. Change has been coming for a long time and do we want to wait until being a full time resident puts you in the minority or do we want to look to the future now?

From Keith Aitchison (25th August 2014) 

The exchange in this forum between Carole and me suggests a polarisation of views which I think is misleading as we seem to agree on many  things. Where we disagree is on scale and current design.   So I will simply state that I have asked the planning authority to do the following :
  1. scale the development down so that it meets the identified need for affordable  housing in Torver for local people  
  2. preserve  the screening and wildlife habitat of the  boundary trees by continuing to use the existing access upgraded to separate access to the residential housing from the employment site for safety reasons.
  3. ensure the existing access is landscaped and screened from Shepherd's View to improve their outlook.and minimise the impact from both housing and employment sites
  4. place a  requirement on the developer to submit a full planning application  for the retained  employment site before allowing  work to commence on the residential site ( to ensure that the stated retention as an employment site happens and is not replaced by a further housing application in due course as is currently entirely feasible) 
Because the Planning Authority have just written out apologising for erroneously saying that only 2 trees were to be removed when in fact the number has now risen  to four, they have extended the consultation period until 1 September. I urge anyone in Torver to take this one remaining opportunity to influence the decision by writing to them with your views.  

From Keith Aitchison (3rd September 2014)  New Comment

Congratulations to John, Helga and Carole, who represented them so eloquently at the planning authority meeting this morning, when the Development Control committee voted 11-0 (with 2 abstentions) in favour of Delegating to the Head of Development Management to approve the Storage Yard planning application subject to the conditions discussed at the meeting. I sincerely hope that what they build on the site now and in the future helps to deliver the thriving Torver (and beyond) hamlet that we all want to see in a community where all are welcome.

So that's goodnight from me and thank you to all those people who sent messages of support and asked me to present their objections to the scale and design of the development at the meeting this morning.

Hideous Dwarf,
May 20, 2014, 12:50 AM