Walmer Bridge housing estate appeal thrown out by Government inspector

A planning inspector has thrown out an appeal to build an executive housing estate on farmland in Walmer Bridge.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 3:45 pm

South Ribble Borough Council rejected plans for nine houses on land adjoining Tuson's Farm in Gill Lane last year, largely because the land lies in an area designated as greenbelt.

Permission for development in greenbelt is usually granted only if exceptional circumstances can be shown to justify it.

At the time, South Ribble planning officer Catherine Lewis said the scale of the proposed development made it more “akin to a village expansion” and Coun Keith Martin added: “I don’t see anything that says these buildings are exceptional [in] that they can encroach on greenbelt.”

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The land adjoining Tuson's Farm, is just under one hectare in size

The decision was taken to appeal by applicant Victor Fitzell, but a Government planning inspector upheld the council's decision.

In a report issued this month, they said: "the very special circumstances required to justify the proposed development do not exist."

The report adds: "The proposal would erode the open, rural character and appearance of the site, which I consider would significantly harm the character and appearance of the area.

"The proposal is also likely to result in a form of development that would not be in keeping with, and further harm, the character and appearance of the area.

Access to the farm site

"Consequently, the proposal does not accord with LP Policy G17 (a & b), which require development to respect the character of the site and the local area and not to have a detrimental impact on neighbouring buildings as a result of, among other things, plot density."

The area in question is currently used as grazing/meadow land and is just under one hectare in size.

A meeting of South Ribble Council’s planning committee heard a family had owned and managed the agricultural plot off Gill Lane for 65 years. It was originally reduced in size in the late 1960s when the Roxburgh and Great Gill housing estates were built - and the business later diversified into horse livery.

However, members were told the stables closed in 2015 and the remaining 22 acres of land was “not sustainable” for farming.