Applause and whistling rang out at South Ribble Borough Council when the authority’s planning committee refused an application for a new housing development in Whitestake.
Residents raised the roof at the decision after several of them had raised their objections to a bid by developer Wainhomes to build up to 100 homes on land off Chain House Lane.
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Committee members heard that the development would not be welcomed by locals because of concerns over a lack of local shops and services and the potential impact on traffic in the area.
But the decision turned on whether the council would be able to meet government housing targets for the borough if it did not grant permission for the site.
Wainhomes claimed that the borough was unable to show that it had sufficient land to be developed over the next five years, as required by national planning rules. It followed a ruling by a government planning inspector last August on a separate development which concluded that the authority was short of the necessary land supply.
But papers presented to the meeting said the situation had since changed – and that the authority was now able to demonstrate between six and 17 years’ worth of land, depending on the methodology used. Officers recommended that the application be refused – because the wider site is earmarked for a more comprehensive development at a later date.
Meanwhile, locals laid out their own concerns, with resident Jean Berry telling the meeting that she was aware of three accidents in the vicinity of the planned estate in just the last week.
“A Freedom of Information request to the police showed that there were 41 accidents in the area between 2013 and 2017 – and not all accidents are reported to the police.
“The travel plan [to show the site is sustainable] is not workable unless all residents are fit enough to walk or cycle a considerable distance to and from their destinations,” she added.
But Steven Harris, a consultant working on behalf of Wainhomes, said that funding guaranteeing the future of the hourly 114 bus in the area for the next five years was one of several benefits of the proposed development to the local community.
“There is a need for one and two bedroom apartments and two and three bedroom affordable homes – and this site is going to provide 30 percent affordable housing.
“Planning agreements [with the council] would also address any infrastructure concerns,” Mr Harris added.
But committee members had no hesitation in unanimously refusing the application.
“The land is there for housing if we need it, but we don’t – we have the numbers,” Coun Barrie Yates said.