Although ‘Brenda from Bristol’ reacted to a BBC reporter on hearing that there is to be a snap General Election on June 8 – “Oh for God’s sake….there’s too much politics going on!” – we should avoid any temptation to back Brenda and her voting fatigue.
Cumbria is central to the political debate. The Conservatives won Copeland from Labour just three months ago, there is a marginal seat in Carlisle and, for the first time, a main party leader, Tim Farron, is a Cumbrian MP. Brexit, nuclear power, investment and infrastructure are central to Cumbria’s future. It has never been more important to vote.
This month Penrith Today visits Eden Animal Rescue, highlights the work and home of Cumbrian poet Norman Nicholson, nips up to the Hebrides for a walk with Cicerone books (competition on page 24), chats with historian Professor Michael Mullett, who has published his first book in a definitive history of Penrith, and we hear from vet Ben Dustan.
Recent editions have triggered a flurry of letters that you should pass to your ‘mam’ to read (page 22).
One letter questions Eden District Council’s decision to grant planning permission for 25 new houses at Sockbridge and Tirril (Phase 1 of a larger scheme). This is controversial, not least because it was made on the casting vote of the Chairman of Eden District Council’s Planning Committee, despite widespread local concerns about adverse environmental impacts.
Although Britain needs more houses to accommodate its growing population, it is difficult to see how expanding a village on the very edge of a National Park, rather than doing so as part of a larger urban settlement, sits comfortably alongside a rapid decline in rural bus services and lack of an appropriate rural infrastructure. New residents will rely on cars to access employment and services. This decision appears to ignore a requirement for developments to be sustainable rather than speculative. The winner will be the landowner, not the village.
Finally, take a look at our What’s On pages. With warmer weather there is plenty to do in Penrith and across the Eden Valley – and even further afield. We review ‘50 Gems of Cumbria’. Why not get a copy and plan a few days out?