Outcry over u-turn as developers get nod for 360 homes on farm land

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Villagers are “shocked beyond disappointment” by a Government decision to allow developers to build 360 homes on a former farm.

The Secretary of State for the Environment approved the scheme at Blackfield End Farm, Warton, near Preston.

The decision comes after a public inquiry last year when lawyers for Fylde Council and Lancashire County Council supported residents’ opposition to the plans.

They argued the development was inappropriate, too large and would put too much of a strain on existing roads and services.

The application by Hallam Land Management is for land off Church Road, Warton.

Bryning-with-Warton Parish Council published its local plan last year which called for a limit on new homes in the village of 650 over the next 20 years.

It also called for developments to be limited to the east and west of the village.

However, the Secretary of State decided the plan held little weight.

A Bryning-with-Warton Parish Council spokesman said: “We feel we have done everything we were asked to do to compile our Neighbourhood Plan in line with the Government’s Localism Act.

“We wanted to direct appropriate developments into sustainable village locations.

“We could not have done more and we are more than disappointed.

“We are despondent that so-called ‘local democracy’ has been swept aside and the wishes and plans of the residents of Warton have been totally ignored.

“We are gathering our resources to decide what to do next.”

A Fylde Council spokesman added: “We have fully supported Bryning-with-Warton Parish Council in its opposition to this development, refusing the planning application and providing expert witnesses to defend that decision at the appeal.

“We amended the emerging Fylde Local Plan to reflect the views of the local community and reduce the scale of development proposed at Warton.

“Strong objections were raised at the inquiry by Fylde Council and Lancashire County Council – but planning permission has been granted by the Secretary of State and the future direction of both the Neighbourhood Plan and the Local Plan will have to be amended to take account of his decision.”

Officers and Warton’s Neighbourhood Plan steering group have had a meeting.