Kirkby Stephen Development Update – May 2022

16th May 2022

In March of last year, eQuality Homes secured a resolution to grant planning consent, subject to the s106 agreement, for a proposed housing development in Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria. Following this our team have been working with planners from Eden District Council to finalise the s106 agreement.

In December 2021, Eden District Council’s planning case officer, head of planning service, and housing officer left their posts, stalling the project. With new planning staff in place our application was once again picked up and a decision set to be made in April of this year.

However, in March the Government and Natural England announced that all housing projects within the river Eden catchment could not be permitted unless the level of Phosphate discharged from the Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW) that the housing project connects to, is not increased. This is known as Nutrient Neutrality.

Without putting waste treatment facilities on each housing site, or undertaking improvements at the WWTW, it is difficult to show that the Phosphate level does not increase.

At present, there are no improvements planned for the Kirkby Stephen WWTW – to which our proposed development would be connected – and no alternative mitigation is proposed by United Utilities or Eden Council. This issue is affecting all planning authorities within the Eden, Kent, Derwent and Bassenthwaite, and Teesmouth catchments with no central solution appearing to be in sight.

Housing developers are not able to affect the systems at the WWTW and the inclusion of waste treatment facilities on each site would require additional space and funding which has not been accounted for in the designs.

eQuality Homes are now urgently progressing discussions with specialists and key stakeholders to facilitate a bespoke solution for the site to enable this project to proceed to the benefit of its future residents and the surrounding area.

Please do keep an eye on our social channels for future updates or contact us on if you have any questions.