'Affordable' and adaptable bungalows will form part of new development in Bamber Bridge

A development that will include specially-adapted bungalows for affordable rent has won support - and praise - from councillors in South Ribble.

Monday, 13th August 2018, 11:42 am
Updated Monday, 13th August 2018, 12:48 pm
Site of former Mainway Court sheltered accommodation facility is being demolished to make way for new housing.

A development that will include specially-adapted bungalows for affordable rent has won support - and praise - from councillors in South Ribble.

Progress Housing Association has been given the go-ahead to develop the former Mainway Court sheltered accommodation site which it operated in Bamber Bridge.

Five wheelchair-accessible bungalows, which will be further adaptable to meet the specific requirements of their future occupants, will be offered for rent at no more than 80 percent of the local market rate.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Some residents raised concerns about increased traffic as a result of the development.

A dozen houses for sale on the open market will also be built after South Ribble Borough Council’s cross-party planning committee voted unanimously to approve the scheme on Edward Street.

Committee member and Bamber Bridge West councillor, Caleb Tomlinson, welcomed the plan, telling representatives of subsidiary company Concert Living: “I applaud you - I think this is a fantastic scheme providing affordable homes for disabled people.”

Papers presented to the meeting revealed the bungalows would also be suitable for older people looking to downsize as they embarked upon retirement - a flexibility supported by a wider housing strategy for central Lancashire.

But the proposed development had prompted concerns from existing residents about traffic and the fact the demolition of Mainway Court had already begun, suggesting that planning permission was “a fait accompli”, according to one objector.

Mainway Court sheltered accommodation was closed last year because of high vacancy rates - it is now being demolished to make way for new housing.

Planning officer Catherine Lewis told the committee the application had “gone through due process at all stages of the process”.

Progress Housing Association closed Mainway Court last year. The provider said the apartment complex had a high turnover of tenants and several of its flats were vacant at any one time.

Refurbishment of the site had not been considered viable and any profits from its planned redevelopment would be reinvested into the group’s other housing initiatives, members heard.

The committee also discussed the destination for infrastructure payments to be made by the developer as part of the planning process.

So-called ‘section 106 money’ has been earmarked for playing fields in the borough, as required by South Ribble’s local plan.

Bamber Bridge East councillor David Watts, who does not sit on the committee, wanted to know why the funds could not instead be used by the Carr Street Community Centre, located just yards from the proposed development.

Committee member Coun Barrie Yates suggested money from developers should be delegated to the neighbourhood forums responsible for identifying suitable community schemes in different parts of the borough.

“The area committees have a list [of priorities] and the only way they can [fulfil them] is via section 106 money,” Coun Yates said.

But interim monitoring officer Dave Whelan warned that agreements had to be “site-specific”.

“You used to be able to say the money would be used within a reasonable vicinity of the [development], but you can’t get away with that now,” Mr.Whelan said.