'The countryside on my doorstep is getting trashed': Chorley residents object plans for new development with 250 homes

Residents of Town Lane, Whittle-le-Woods, are objecting to new plans that propose building at least 250 homes being built over fears of dangerous roads and overpopulation.

Tuesday, 9th February 2021, 3:40 pm

The move for Redrow to build 250 homes off Town Lane was first met with dismay by councillors in November last year.

Members of the Town Lane resident's association are now encouraging people to submit their objections to the site over their fears of an increase in traffic, dangerous roads and strain on local infrastructure if the site is approved.

The site, which is classified as so-called “safeguarded” land - means it is intended to be released for development in the longer-term, but would ordinarily be protected during the period covered by the borough’s current local plan.

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Members of the residents association in the field off Town Ln, Whittle-le-Woods, where new houses are proposed
Members of the residents association in the field off Town Ln, Whittle-le-Woods, where new houses are proposed

But company Redrow now intend to erect at least 250 new dwellings on the site after a planning appeal ruling last year - in which the council’s decision to refuse permission for 180 new homes on Pear Tree Lane in Euxton was overturned and left Chorley open to applications that it would ordinarily have been able to refuse outright.

Mum-of-one Sheena Johnson, who lives on Lady Crosse Drive, said: "This new development would continue to completely trash the character of the village, and will end up making it into a town without any amenities for people living there.

"There are no spaces at primary schools within walking distance of the estate because they are already oversubscribed, meaning people will have to use their cars and drive. Town Lane is already getting busier and busier every year, it could not handle another 500 cars on the road.

"It used to be a quiet road, myself and my parents have lived around here all our lives but the road surface has become damaged because it is used so much and becoming busier and more dangerous to the point where I wouldn't let my child go out on his bike or with his friends.

Gary Liptrott, Paul Newall, Brian Walkden and Ian Facer of the Residents Association

"With the houses, there is an environmental risk and high chance of flooding, there is only one dentist and one doctor in the area which you already can't get an appointment at and there are no local amenities for all those thousands of extra people.

"It doesn't come down to the need for housing in the area, it is all about money and making profit, especially when most of them will be large homes that aren't affordable for the majority. I am really upset about it because the countryside on my doorstep is getting trashed."

Over 160 objection comments submitted to Chorley Council raise further concerns about increased traffic, habitat loss and noise pollution.

One read: "The structure of the narrow lanes and roads, with no pedestrian footpath on parts of Town Lane is totally unsuited to more traffic. These village roads are at capacity already and were not built for heavy traffic usage."

Redrow plan to build 250 dwellings on the new site, with just 30 per cent as affordable housing

And another said: "The amount of green land being lost in the area is alarming and the local infrastructure is already overstretched."

Another objection said: "(The development) is likely to overwhelm the already stretched infrastructure, which includes, but is not limited to schools, doctors, dentists, road networks, water and wastewater network, electricity network, and the communications network."

The resident's association was set up alongside the 'Whittle-le-Woods against overdevelopment' Facebook group that encouraged concerned locals to submit their objections by today, February 9.

On behalf of the residents association, Treasurer Paul Newall said: "Our members have grave concerns about this proposal. Town Lane and its links are entirely unsuitable, with sharp, blind bends and narrow sections without footpaths.

"The extra daily traffic presents huge increased risks for road users, especially walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Local homes have been badly flooded in recent years and the threat is growing.

"To build on 30 or more acres of elevated natural soak-away is outrageous. There is a distinct lack of amenities to support the development with schools and doctors already oversubscribed. We know the weight of local opposition will be substantial."

Cllr Mark Clifford, Champion for Environment and Green Space said: "The existing road network including Town lane is not suitable for any increase in vehicular traffic. None of the routes exiting Town Lane are what could be deemed as safe and with the road being semi-rural, conflicts with horses and pedestrians are highly likely.

"Only a few months ago I had new signage on Town Lane installed by Lancashire County Council making motorists aware of horse riding taking place in the area.

"The loss of this beautiful semi-rural nature by increased volumes of traffic would in fact be a loss of public amenity and therefore constitutes another reason to refuse these plans.

"Chorley Council has declared a Climate and Nature emergency and these plans go against our commitments to become Carbon Neutral by 2030.

"The strain on existing infrastructure should not be underestimated with a lack of local school provision for children in the area, lack of shops in the vicinity, dentistry, health care, entertainment. New residents would have to use their motor vehicles when accessing these services further increasing pollution in this area.

However, Redrow told the Post that the development will provide financial contributions for new infrastructure, with a new pedestrian and cycle path introduced to improve the safety of the area.

Robin Buckley, planning director at Redrow Lancashire said: "Should planning be approved for the development on Town Lane, Redrow will provide financial contributions to support new infrastructure through a Community Infrastructure Levy charge.

"This charge is intended to contribute towards the cost of a wide variety of new infrastructure including new school places, roads, public transport, health and social facilities and flood defences. At this stage, Chorley Council has not yet indicated whether any further contributions, such as S106 payments, would be required in relation to our proposals.

“The traffic survey data utilised in the transport assessment was collected in November 2020, prior to the second national lockdown, and was then compared with surveys from previous years (2011 and 2019) and factored-up accordingly.

"This approach had been agreed with the Lancashire County Council’s Highways department as part of pre-application advice. All of the junctions assessed were found to operate satisfactorily with development traffic added.

“An internal pedestrian and cycle path will provide a safe and convenient connection linking the development to the existing village and its amenities to the west. As well as a mix of homes, the development itself will include new open space and wildlife habitats.”

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