Leyland's affordable housing boost as final approval given to test track estate on which councillors demanded more

More than 200 affordable homes are on their way to Leyland after councillors gave the green light to the latest phases of the redevelopment of the town’s former test track site.

Sunday, 17th July 2022, 11:57 am
Updated Sunday, 17th July 2022, 12:26 pm

The properties will make up just under a third of the 743 dwellings set to spring up on a huge section of the long-disused ex-Leyland Motors plot off Aston Way.

It comes more than three years after a blueprint for 950 homes across the wider site initially proposed that just 117 of them should fall into the affordable category on the entire estate.

Developer Barratt Homes had argued that the major development would not be viable if it had to provide more than 14 percent of the houses at less than the market rate.

Signposted from the Titan Way/Aston Way roundabout, the new estate is being delivered in five phases - the final three of which have now been confirmed (image: Google)

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However, South Ribble Borough Council’s planning committee indicated in April 2019 that it would refuse permission if the housebuilder faIled to fulfil the authority’s requirement for developments in the district to deliver an affordable home quota of 30 percent – with committee members variously branding the lower proposal “deplorable” and “pitiful”. The applicant later agreed to make the expected contribution to the affordable housing stock and its plans got the nod in November of that year.

Approval was at that point given to detailed proposals for 197 homes – on which work is now well under way – while outline permission was granted for a further 753 dwellings. It is that part of the development to which the committee has now okayed the specifics, but for 10 fewer properties than originally planned.

Within the latest three phases, there will be 223 affordable homes – split almost equally between those offered for shared ownership and affordable rent, which must be at least 20 percent lower than local market rents.

The Leyland Motors test track, pictured before the facility start to be redeveloped for housing. It was last used for vehicle testing in 2005.

The 743 properties in total will include 674 detached, semi-detached and terrace houses – 81 of them with two bedrooms, 479 with three and 114 four-bedroomed dwellings. The development will also include 69 two-bed apartments split across eight buildings of two and three storeys in height.

The site will incorporate areas of public open space which were part of the original outline application for the plot – and will include green links, pedestrian and cycle paths and a bridleway.

In a statement issued to the Local Democracy Reporting Service after the meeting where the plans were approved, a spokesperson for Barratt Homes Manchester and David Wilson Homes North West said: “We’re delighted with the decision to approve our plans for the additional phases of our Centurion Village development.

“It’s another fantastic opportunity for us to meet the growing demand for housing in Lancashire and we’ll look forward to making further investment in Leyland through financial contributions and the creation of jobs for local people.”

The firm will pay £4.9m in community infrastructure levy as part of the latest phases to be approved. It is also providing £800,000 to fund a bus service through the development for five years.

In April, separate permission was granted for a drive-thru restaurant and petrol station on the eastern part of the former test track, a facility which was last in use in 2005.