A meeting about a controversial housing development on a greenbelt site in Coppull did not go as expected when the host walked out.
Owners of the Yew Tree Farm in Coppull Hall Lane, Jim and Barbara Woodcock, have announced fresh plans to replace their commercial dairy with 150 homes.
Graeme Luxton, who is acting on behalf of Mr and Mrs Woodcock and is a chartered surveyor at developers Harmony Homes, held a public meeting on Wednesday, November 23 to discuss proposals for the 108 hectare site.
The evening was so well attended that residents moved to a bigger meeting room as they were queuing through the foyer and out the door.
But Mr Luxton refused to move to the larger room and shortly afterwards left the meeting altogether.
When the Guardian approached owners of the farm they were not keep to provide a statement.
Residents who live near the farm are determined to halt the plans while they are still at the consultation stage.
Roy Lees lives on Coppull Hall Lane which backs onto the land earmarked for development. He warned that although the consultation is for 150 homes, plans drawn up by the architects show that they could be looking to develop up to another 300 homes on the site once they are given the go ahead for the initial build.
“The government says that no development should be allowed in the greenbelt unless exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated,” he said.
“The circumstances they are claiming is that the benefit of the farm from not processing 450,000 litres of milk a week is greater than the harm to the greenbelt .
“The people of Coppull Hall Lane and Sunny Brow, the areas immediately affected by this development, would rather have the continued use of the farm than the destruction of prime arable greenbelt. This is not just about Yew Tree Farm as if this development goes ahead, no greenbelt is safe from development in the whole of Chorley Borough.”
Chorley Council councillor Jane Fitzsimons (Coppull), who was at the meeting, said: “I have received many emails and spoken with concerned residents, and it is clear that the majority, including myself, strongly oppose the building on greenbelt land. There is no doubt, that local people care passionately about preserving the beautiful Yarrow Valley and the surrounding landscape, so it is only fitting that we come together as a community to protect it for future generations.
“I now hope the owners of the Dairy do the right thing by its neighbours and the people of Coppull, and do not pursue a planning application for such a development.”
County cllr Paul Clark (Coppull) added: “The overwhelming turnout at meeting on Wednesday made it clear that this development is not welcome. The residents of Coppull care passionately about their greenbelt. We oppose the destruction of our greenbelt land and we will do everything we can to support residents and their interests.”
To date more than 1,600 people have signed a petition against the plans. A Facebook group, Save our Greenbelt at Yew Tree Farm, has more than 1,700 members.