Are 950 homes on the former Leyland Test Track finally set to be approved by councillors?

A major housing and business project on the site of the former Leyland Motors Test Track finally looks set to be given the green light.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 9:18 am
Leyland Test Track (Image: JPIMedia)

Up to 950 homes along with a business park and industrial estate are set to be built on the former motor hot spot, which was built in the 1970s when Leyland Motors was under public ownership.

It comes after South Ribble Council’s planning committee deferred from making a decision on the plan in March over issues with affordable housing.

Developer Barratt Homes had initially offered just 10 per cent affordable housing, raised to 13.8 per cent at the committee meeting; somewhat short of the council’s 30 per cent quota as requires in its planning policy.

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Leyland Test Track masterplan consultation (Image: JPIMedia)

At the meeting committee member Coun Barrie Yates said the application should be refused outright.

“They have said, to hell with your local plan’ – 154 fewer affordable homes than we require is deplorable by any standards, ” Coun Yates said.

But after “extensive discussions” between Barratt Homes and the council, the developer has succumbed to the hitting the quota, resulting it appearing before Wednesday evening’s (October 23) planning committee where it is recommended to be approved.

In notes presented before the committee, officers write that “following extensive discussions over the past six months” they are “satisfied that the increased affordable provision to 30 per cent affordable units, split 50 per cent affordable rent and 50 per cent shared ownership, is acceptable”.

2017: Members of the public at South Ribble Council's planning committee meeting which discussed the Leyland test track plans (Image: JPIMedia)

Barratt Homes is set to provide £6.9 million in Community Infrastructure Levy payments – cash which South Ribble and Lancashire County councils can use to improve services and facilities in the area.

The ambitious scheme for the former test track is being presented in two parts.

The first is for 197 homes with road access, open spaces, and green infrastructure; and the second for between 653 and 753 homes, with more than 20,000 square metres of space dedicated to economic development and business.

Planning officers have recommended councillors approve both parts.

Leyland Motors Test Track (Image: JPIMedia)

They ask that the decision is then delegated to the council’s Director of Planning and Property once a Section 106 agreement securing the likes of affordable housing levels and road contributions is locked down.

Section 106 money is provided by developers for new infrastructure as part of the legal deal in getting a project approved.

Part of the money will fund the construction of a new primary school adjacent to the boundary of Paradise Park. A neighbourhood retail centre will also be incorporated.

Among other funding to be secured is £160,000 per year to be given to Lancashire County Council for five years to support the creation or diversion of bus services to the site.

Officers add that the site is “important to the delivery” of the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal to build four new road schemes, 17,000 new homes and create 20,000 jobs.

Barratt Homes was approached for comment but did not respond before deadline.