'You've made it worse': fury over 'six-metre tall garages' for proposed Longton estate

A houseuilder that was ordered to rethink plans for an estate in Longton which had angered neighbouring residents has been told that their revised suggestion makes matters even worse.

Sunday, 19th September 2021, 9:31 am

South Ribble Borough Council’s planning committee deferred its decision on proposals for a 33-home development off Reynard Close back in April after hearing objections from those living nearby about the potential impact on their own properties.

The applicant – Longton Developments Limited – was asked by members to consult with locals in an attempt to overcome issues including concerns about the proximity of the proposed new dwellings to existing houses and their potentially overbearing nature.

The developer has since ripped up the original plans – for a mix of apartments and terrace and detached houses – and replaced them with a proposal for 14 executive-style detached dwellings with either five or six bedrooms.

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The land off Reynard Close where the executive homes would be built

The application – like the one it replaced – was recommended for approval by the council’s planning officers. However, a recent meeting of the committee once again saw locals lining up to object – and ended with the developer being told to hold further discussions with disgruntled residents.

Dr Leah Gillooly condemned a plan which she described as being “much, much worse” than the original – with garages akin to “a small house”.

“The garages are over six metres high – putting that into perspective, that’s a metre higher than the eaves of our house. Not only that, but [they] have Velux windows in the roof spaces.

“Whatever the developer might protest, if these garages are not designed in such a way as to be turned into habitable [rooms], why on earth do they need to be over six metres tall?”

Nearby resident David Harrison told members that attempts to consult had not been made until over a week after the current application had been submitted in late June

“Congratulations to the developer for ticking the box of consultation, but I suggest this wasn’t the consultation any of us would expect,” said Mr. Harrison, who stressed that existing residents did not object to the principle of development on the plot.

The land is earmarked for housing under South Ribble’s local plan and planning officers concluded that the proposal was a “well-designed, spatially-acceptable development which would respect the character and appearance of the area”.

The agent for the application, Phil Garner, said that the developer had made amendments to the rear elevations of some of the proposed houses after meeting with residents’ representatives in July – and that the redesigned plans had moved the footprint of the houses along the western boundary further away from existing properties.

David Cunningham, from Longton Developments Limited, added that the company was not one which puts “profit before the village”. He added that the type of properties being proposed were in demand and added “quality” to the area.

“The scheme…addresses a number of the concerns raised in April’s committee [meeting],” Mr. Cunningham said.

However, committee members were unimpressed.

Cllr Caroline Moon said that the developer had “gone out of the frying pan and into the fire”.

“We’ve taken something where we have residents who are openly saying they are supportive of development…and taken it a million miles backwards, in my view,” she said.

Fellow committee member James Flannery said: “To find out that you haven’t spoken to [residents] to the level and extent that [they expected] is really disappointing.

“When we say go and consult and speak to the residents…we mean speak to the residents.”

The committee once again resolved to defer the decision to allow time for further discussions, which will this time be brokered by council officers after agreement from the applicant.

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