Broughton bypass housing plan rejected by Preston city councillors

A bid to build houses on fields off the Broughton bypass has been bulldozed by councillors.

Sunday, 3rd October 2021, 7:44 pm
Updated Sunday, 3rd October 2021, 7:46 pm

Preston City Council’s planning committee rejected a proposal by Wainhomes to construct 81 properties on two parcels of land to the west of the bypass – officially known as James Towers Way – and south of Whittingham Lane.

The plots lie in areas defined as open countryside – and so are not earmarked for housing development either in city authority’s local plan or the neighbourhood plan of Broughton Parish Council.

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A new exit would have been created to access a proposed estate off the Broughton bypass (image: Google)

The committee meeting also heard that highways officers at Lancashire County Council had objected to plans to create an access point to the proposed estate by adding a fifth arm to the existing roundabout at the junction of James Towers Way and Whittingham Lane.

Although County Hall had indicated that its concerns – in relation to vehicular and pedestrian safety – could be overcome by “further submissions” from the housebuilder, members were told that the city council had not yet received the final assessment from the top-tier authority’s highways department.

Planning committee member Harry Landless said that there was already “chaos” in the area at busy times.

“It would cause an absolute nightmare trying to get in and out of this site off that roundabout at rush hour,” Cllr Landless warned.

He added that he was “sceptical” about why Wainhomes had not sent a representative to address the committee, saying it seemed that the application – for a range of detached, semi-detached and terrace houses, 28 of which would have been in the affordable category – had just been “thrown in”.

Village areas to the north of Preston have been subject to a slew of controversial proposals for development over recent years in areas classed as countryside, most of which are bound up in a long-running – and ongoing – wrangle about whether the city can demonstrate that it has enough land set aside to meet its housing requirements.

Committee member David Borrow said that while the current process of drawing up a new local plan would see the city “look again” at the land that might be needed for development in future years, the council should not “feel pushed” into going against its existing policy in the meantime.

“The future local plan [will be] one that has been consulted on and [which] the residents we represent know about and their elected representatives have approved.

“Otherwise the whole planning process just disappears completely and becomes…open warfare in deciding where houses are built, rather than doing it in a planned way,” Cllr Borrow added.

For the first time, Preston is working with neighbouring authorities in South Ribble and Chorley to create a joint local plan covering the whole of Central Lancashire. The document will not be ready to be adopted until December 2023 at the earliest.

A public consultation on the preferred options for areas to be developed in each of the three districts is expected to be launched later this year.

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