Plan rejected for farmland business and industrial park in Broughton

An attempt to create a rural business park on farmland on the outskirts of Preston has been kicked out by councillors.

Monday, 4th April 2022, 10:58 am
Updated Monday, 4th April 2022, 11:05 am

Members of Preston City Council’s planning committee rejected a proposal to develop 33 small units at Orchard Farm, off Whittingham Lane

in Broughton.

They would have been permitted to house firms operating in the storage, commercial and services sectors – and so could have included

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The entrance to Orchard Farm, off Whittingam Lane in Broughton - where plans to build 33 commercial or industrial units have failed (image: Google)

distribution, industrial, research and development and fitness ventures.

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However, the application was recommended for refusal by council planning officers, because the grazing on land on which it was to be

built is classed as open countryside – and is not earmarked in the authority’s local plan for the use proposed.

Papers presented to the committee also stated that the applicant – JK Beardsworth Ltd. – had failed to demonstrate that there was “a local

business and community need” for their plans.

Richard Purser, the agent for the application, said that he was “frustrated” by that conclusion – and claimed that research showed that

there was a gap in the local market for the kind of small-scale commercial spaces being suggested.

He said that the aim was to meet a demand from “genuinely small local businesses, with two or three employees, [which] want small workshops” –

and also to enable existing companies to expand.

“[These are] businesses that don’t want to be located in [urban] Preston – businesses that could be based in Broughton to serve a wider

rural area,” said Mr. Purser, who added that it would make the village a more “sustainable” settlement and reduce commuting into Preston.

The proposed units – ranging in size from 42 to 116 square metres – would have been spread across nine, single-storey buildings arranged in a

courtyard design and screened with “dense planting”.

However, planning officers concluded that a development with such a “suburban character” would be “at odds” with the surrounding area and

would also significantly extend the built-up part of Broughton beyond the village boundary.

Committee members were similarly unpersuaded. Cllr Harry Landless said that he was “not convinced by the argument that there was a need

for an employment or industrial site in this area”.

“The whole thing, to me, hasn’t been properly thought through…[it’s] just not the right site,” he said, noting that highways officers at

Lancashire County Council had objected to the fact that there was nothing in the plans to show that HGVs would be able to turn around

within the development.

Cllr David Borrow said that any such scheme should be considered as part of the ongoing process to draw up a new local plan – and not on the

basis of individual applications.

“There may be merits for building an employment estate somewhere – it’s [a question of] finding the right place,” he said.

Twenty-seven public objections were lodged to the proposal – some from the same household.

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