A battle to stop urban Preston “marching across the countryside towards Grimsargh”, has begun.
Planning Inspector Isobel McCretton has been called in after Hallam Land Management’s bid for 143 houses on land to the north of The Hills estate off Longridge Road, was thrown out by Preston Council.
The company is appealing the decision, which was made on the basis that the development would remove separating land between the village and Preston, and would damage the character of the area.
Speaking on behalf of the council, solicitor Jonathan Easton said: “The development would be on the narrowest point between Preston and Grimsargh, a blindingly obvious site for separation.
“The boundaries are logical, reasonable and defensible.”
He added: “The countryside would suffer permanently and this development would undermine the ability to maintain the area of separation.
“It would erode the fragile sense of leaving Preston into an area of countryside, and the village’s distinct nature would also be eroded.”
Mr Hardy, a solicitor representing Hallam Land Management, said it was a ,“Johnny come lately argument from the council”.
He argued that the current nearest point between Grimsargh and Preston was 120 metres.
He said: “Clearly that gap satisfies the council, which wants to protect the boundaries, and that would be more than well maintained on the western side.
“The distance between the northern boundary and housing at the southern edge would be 190 metres.
“The main established residential housing in Grimsargh starts at Ribblesdale Drive, and that would be 275 metres away.”
He added: “The 143 much-needed houses are in an area where there is a substantial shortfall against the housing supply.
“Due to the absence of a demonstrable five-year supply of housing land, it means that planning permission should be granted unless substantial harm can be demonstrated.”
The original application was refused in October, after 70 letters of objections from local people were received.
Representatives of Grimsargh Parish Council, MP Ben Wallace, ward councillors and local residents are expected to air their views against the plans at the hearing today.