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Controversial homes plan is approved by councillors

Plans approved: The former Ridings Depot, Whittingham Road, Longridge, which is to be transformed into more than 200 homes

Plans approved: The former Ridings Depot, Whittingham Road, Longridge, which is to be transformed into more than 200 homes

Revised plans for a housing development in Longridge have been approved, despite claims it will be a “recipe for disaster”.

Fox Strategic Land and Property Ltd lodged an application for up to 220 homes, offices and residential apartments with care at the former Ridings Depot and land to the north and south of Whittingham Road.

The outline proposals were a revised submission of plans including up to 200 homes and a fitness facility and swimming pool, which were allowed on appeal earlier this year.

The revised scheme involved replacing the leisure elements with more homes, and was approved subject to conditions and a section 106 agreement, despite criticisms from councillors.

Addressing the meeting, Coun Lona Smith said her original arguments against the development in an area of separation, and concerns about traffic, remained unchanged.

She said: “Residents in the area and the local councillors know that it’s a recipe for disaster. When all the applications come to fruition I would invite all concerned to come and see the devastation and chaos they have caused.

“Given that 20 extra houses will only add to the misery, I strongly urge you to refuse the application.”

At the appeal for the earlier application of 200 homes, an inspector considered that the development would not have an adverse impact on the area of separation, and a previous reason for refusal on highways grounds had been overcome.

Planning committee member Coun David Borrow said: “I think the decision from the committee has basically been completely undermined by the planning inspector.

“Because the two areas we could have blocked it on was the area of separation and the inspector removed that, and the other thing is traffic.”

He added: “The prime minister has appointed a planning minister who has essentially instructed planning inspectors to approve house building whatever the residents have said.

“We all know this goes against the planning policy of the council, but that’s been over-ridden by the planning inspector and it’s just a tragedy.”

Coun Alexandra Thompson-Ortega said: “We’ve all agreed before now that we find far more important our area of separation and traffic concerns and I just can’t go along with this application. It’s absolutely outrageous that it’s come this far.” Committee chair, Coun Brian Rollo, added: “I cant see any reason why an extra 20 houses we should turn it down. But I don’t like it.”

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