Affordable homes plan is approved

SUPPORT: Elizabeth Atkins
SUPPORT: Elizabeth Atkins
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Planning bosses have given the nod to a development of affordable homes in Preston, despite dozens of objections from neighbours.

Community Gateway are set to build 16 houses and two bungalows on open space at the former Truro Place in St Matthew’s, even though residents had urged them to withdraw the plans.

But chiefs at the housing association agreed the land could be developed into a community space provision, as long as another site for the homes could be found.

Addressing this month’s planning committee meeting, project manager Marcus Fisher said: “The vast majority have objected because they wish the space to remain an open space and improved, so it is an amenity space.

“We’ve entered into a dialogue with those people and we’ve promised to find a solution where this can be developed for open space, providing an alternative location can be found for the 18 homes.

“We’ve got funding and we need to deliver those homes by the end of 2016.”

He added: “Community Gateway are here to provide affordable rented accommodation - there’s a desperate need in Preston.

“We are quite willing and open to speak to the people who gave objections, but ultimately we have an end game.

“We have to have those properties developed within the time frame so, while we are prepared to listen and talk, we have a grant that’s got a limited life span.”

Coun Elizabeth Atkins, who chaired the debate, said: “St Matthew’s is one of the most deprived areas in Preston and I think any green space has got to be a good thing, but nobody has owned that space.

“I think what the neighbourhood community is doing is negotiating with Community Gateway so they can take control of it, so it’s something worth looking at.”

She added: “If this goes ahead, this gives a fall back plan should negotiations fail, so I’m voting for it.”