Chorley housebuilding consultation during lockdown "shows contempt" for community

A Chorley councillor has blasted a housebuilder for launching a public consultation into a proposed development in Whittle during the nationwide lockdown.

Monday, 9th November 2020, 6:13 pm
Updated Monday, 9th November 2020, 7:38 pm
The proposed development site lies to the west of the M61 in Whittle (image: Google)

Mark Clifford says it makes his “blood boil” that Redrow has chosen to press ahead with asking locals for their views on plans to build up to 250 homes off Town Lane.

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The developer has created a consultation website, providing details of its proposals for the 13-hectare plot, just west of the M61. It says that the responses of residents are important and will be taken into account before a formal planning application is submitted.

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However, Cllr Clifford – one of the ward councillors for Clayton-le-Woods and Whittle-le-Woods – says that the decision to run the consultation right now shows “contempt” for the area and claims that residents are disadvantaged by being unable to collectively mobilise against the proposal if they were minded to do so.

“This is a deliberate attempt to avoid public scrutiny and engage properly with the community. I ask all residents of Whittle-le-Woods to make their views known to Redrow and say enough is enough, no more housing.

“Developers are destroying the rural character of our village.

“These houses are not needed or wanted and this highly speculative plan is the result of the government’s flawed policy that Chorley must build more homes.

“Residents do not want to see Whittle-le-Woods become Redrow-le-Woods,” Cllr Clifford said.

The consultation into the proposed development – 30 percent of which is intended to be made up of homes classified as affordable – is open until 20th November.

Robin Buckley, planning director at Redrow Lancashire, said: “We are committed to ensuring the local community has the opportunity to view, discuss and comment on our proposals for new homes in Whittle-le-Woods.

“At a time when face-to-face consultation isn’t possible, the consultation for the development on Town Lane was adapted to be entirely online and all responses can be received through our dedicated consultation website.

“Last week we distributed roughly 250 leaflets guiding local homes and businesses to the dedicated website, where they can provide feedback and comments until November 20th. Once the consultation period is over any feedback will be taken into account prior to the submission of a formal planning application, at which point local people will have a second opportunity to respond.

“The government has indicated that the housing market should continue to operate despite Covid-19, therefore it is crucial that consultations are still organised so the planning process can keep moving. Our proposals will help to remedy a shortfall in the housing land supply in Chorley and provide much-needed affordable housing,” Mr. Buckley added.

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