Work will start on Preston’s biggest single housing development next year - which could spark the creation of a major new road.
Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey has confirmed it will start work on the first phase of its 650-home scheme at the former hospital in Whittingham in “the second half of 2013.”
The move could trigger the start of work on the £19m Broughton bypass linked to the scheme, which has been on-and-off for two decades.
Lancashire County Council has confirmed it will bid to renew its planning permission for the bypass when it expires next year.
Today, opponents to the road say they fear the threat of the road plans will hang over them for a further decade.
The bypass is linked to the homes with Taylor Wimpey having permission to build 350 before paying a penny towards it - but must stump up £13m if it builds over this number.
Chris Couper, of the opposition Broughton Bypass Review Group, said the renewal of the application keeps the threat hanging over the village.
He said: “We are still totally opposed to the idea of a bypass and will be watching the situation extremely closely.
“We expected the county council to renew its permission, but it remains the case that the bypass will only happen if more than 350 homes are built.
“In the current climate, it is difficult to see that happening.”
A Taylor Wimpey spokesman confirmed it intends to start work “in the latter half of 2013.”
She said: “We are continuing to work with the Homes and Communities Agency (which owns the site) and Preston Council to bring forward the development.
“We hope to commence construction on the first phase in the latter half of 2013.”
County Coun George Wilkins, who represents Preston Rural, said the county council would not start work for the bypass without a £14m contribution from the house-builder.
He added he wanted the council to look at smaller-scale plans to tackle congestion in the area.
The proposed “A6 congestion relief at Broughton” is listed in the council’s transport masterplan, due to be published in January, as something which could be brought forward in the next decade.
It even lays out a timescale for the scheme which could see it buy up land along the proposed route from next year with work starting by 2016 and opening by 2017.
A county council spokesman said these dates were “aspirational” and dependent getting its permission renewed and the house-building project taking off.
The masterplan also includes £2m improvements to Junction 1 of the M55 at Broughton, including new traffic lights, which is due to start next year.