2,000 homes plan is 'blank canvas' for a new community

The Pickering's Farm site
The Pickering's Farm site
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Planning has begun on a major new development near Preston that is set to be home to up to 2,000 families.

A public consultation has begun on plans for the major new greenfield site development.

Developers Taylor Wimpey and Homes England began a joint public consultation exercise yesterday for the mammoth Pickering’s Farm site off Bee Lane between Penwortham and Lostock Hall.

The partnership has invited locals to get involved in shaping the development from the start on a “blank canvas” for a new community.

The public will be able to influence what goes on the site, what type of homes should be built, what it will all look like - and even its name.

A six-hour public event was held at the Kingsfold Methodist Church in Penwortham to seek the views of would-be residents.

And more are expected to attend a second “visioning exercise” at Leyland Market between noon and 5pm on Friday to gather comments and ideas.

“Pickering’s Farm has been identified by South Ribble Council as an ideal location to help meet the local authority’s housing needs,” said a leaflet circulated across the borough.

“Both Taylor Wimpey and Homes England are committed to delivering a neighbourhood that South Ribble can be proud of and one that is sensitively delivered to complement the character of the area.

“That is why we are presenting you with a blank canvas for Pickering’s Farm and asking your views.

“This consultation is an opportunity to tell us about types of homes that you want to see us deliver in the area, alongside how the new neighbourhood should look and feel.”

Taylor Wimpey and Homes England, the Government’s housing delivery agency, are looking to prepare a blueprint for the make-up of the neighbourhood which has been in the planning stage for at least five years. The flagship project is seen as a residential-led mixed use development.

“In 2015 South Ribble Council allocated Pickering’s Farm as a major site for development in its local plan,” said a statement announcing the public consultation.

“As part of the City Deal, Pickering’s Farm has been identified as a preferred site and will help deliver the 7,000 new homes required by South Ribble Council between now and 2026.

“Homes England and Taylor Wimpey have challenged their masterplanning team to work closely with the local community to create a blueprint of excellence to guide the future development of the neighbourhood.”

The initial round of consultation is running for a five-week period. It started on June 26 and will end on July 20. Local people will be able to give their thoughts and ideas on a dedicated website: www.visionforpickeringsfarm.co.uk.

“Working with the local community is extremely important to us,” said Kate McClean, senior strategic land and planning manager for Taylor Wimpey.

“We will be engaging with a wide range of stakeholders, including local people. We want to hear feedback on a range of different topics related to the vision for this site so that we can create a neighbourhood that South Ribble can be proud of.”

Nicola Elsworth, head of public sector land at Homes England, added: “Delivering a neighbourhood that local people can be proud of is important to us and we want to fully engage with local people to understand their views.”

The site, between Penwortham and Lostock Hall, stretches across 222 acres of flat farm land. It is situated immediately to the south of the Kingsfold area of Penwortham and is bounded by the A582 Penwortham Way and the West Coast main rail line.

In a development statement drawn up in 2013 it was said the site could accommodate up to 2,000 homes, including affordable housing.

In addition it could have mixed employment uses and could have a local centre with between five and 10 modern units including a GP surgery, a dentist and a pharmacy, as well as a convenience store.

A primary school is also envisaged in the neighbourhood, along with a nursery and a 70-resident elderly housing facility.

A new road would be built linking Leyland Road and Penwortham Way, with pedestrian and cycling improvements also provided. It may even have its own railway station.

The development would be delivered in a phased way, ensuring the infrastructure network is not over-stretched.