Affordable housing plan in Goosnargh gets green light

The proposed development site is close to Goosnargh Rec
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A controversial planning bid for 93 homes in a rural Lancashire village has been given the green light although dozens of residents were not present to hear the verdict.

Many who had turned up at the town hall to hear the deliberations were turned away as the conference room had reached capacity on Thursday.

Despite the proposals in Goosnargh being contrary to local planning guidelines regarding development in rural areas, officers had recommended it for approval as its offer of affordable housing constituted an exception, the committee was told.

However, the decision - which came from a majority vote of seven to five - was slammed by Preston Rural North Conservative representative Coun Lona Smith, who spoke against the plans.

She said: “We might as well stick a welcome sign up on the door of the town hall and say we’re open to any land grabbing developers after this decision.”

Planning committee members were earlier told the housing plan, which will includes more than 60 affordable units, attracted more than 200 letters of objection and a petition signed by a similar number.

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It was also opposed by both Whittingham and Goosnargh Parish Councils in addition to Wyre and Preston North MP Ben Wallace.

Community representatives Matthew Hirst and Julie Buttle outlined flooding concerns for the site off Goosnargh Lane and questioned whether there was a need for this number of affordable homes given the proximity to the former Whittingham Hospital site where approval for 650 homes has already been granted.

Alban Cassidy, speaking on behalf of applicants of Contour Homes, said the site would offer “something different” in terms of affordable housing, with bungalows and social rental properties.

The result of the vote was greeted with cries of “shame on you” from the public gallery with committee chair Coun David Borrow having earlier issued several warnings about residents speaking out.

Coun Smith added that it was “extremely disappointing” residents had been turned away and said the proceedings should have been heard in the larger council chamber.

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