New "garden village" plan would bring 1,300 homes and a new school to Samlesbury - and that might just be the start

Residents are being invited to have their say on plans to build 1,300 homes as part of a proposed “garden village” in South Ribble.

By Paul Faulkner
Friday, 4th February 2022, 5:15 pm
Updated Friday, 4th February 2022, 10:44 pm

The development - on land to the east of the M6 at Samlesbury - would also include a primary school, leisure facilities, a local shopping centre and employment space.

The first phase of what has been billed as Cuerdale Garden Village would straddle the A59 Preston New Road, with most of the construction taking place on the south side of the dual carriageway, which leads to junction 31 of the motorway. A standalone plot to the north east of the Samlesbury Hotel has also been identified as part of the plans, which have been brought forward by North West-based Story Homes.

While the public consultation is concerned only with the initial stage of the proposal, the developer has also laid out the potential for a further 1,400 properties to be created - along with other facilities - largely to the north of the A59.

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Part of the sprawling plot for the first phase of the proposed Cuerdale Garden Village development just to the east of the M6 at Samlesbury (image: Kelvin Stuttard)

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The results of the three-week consultation into phase one will be used to inform an outline planning application which is expected to be submitted to South Ribble Borough Council in around a month’s time.

The firm says that its blueprint for the 172-hectare site would build upon the “growth opportunity” offered by the nearby Samlesbury Enterprise Zone and the forthcoming £5bn National Cyber Force headquarters in the area, plans for which were announced last year and which will lead to the creation of 2,000 jobs.

Story Homes estimate that 3,100 new roles could be created within the garden village development itself. Although details of the types of businesses to be accommodated on the site will not emerge until later in the planning process, the manufacturing, distribution and research and development sectors are likely to feature heavily.

The red-edged areas mark the proposed first phase of the Cuerdale Garden Village development in Samlesbury (image: Story Homes/Lexington)

The land that would be occupied by the garden village is classed as greenbelt, meaning that the developer will have to demonstrate “very special circumstances” in order to secure permission for the proposal.

However, the constructor says that the self-contained nature of the development will not undermine the purpose of the greenbelt, which, in this location, is to prevent the unrestricted sprawl of Preston and the merging of the city with smaller settlements. The company claims that the “robust landscaping scheme” that it proposes for the site will reduce the risk of any further extension of the development.

It has also committed to including new planting and landscaping on the plot and the retention of existing woodland - such as Walmsley Fold Wood and Huntley Wood - as well as other trees and hedgerows where possible. Story Homes has already submitted an environmental impact assessment report to South Ribble Borough Council, which sets out the environmental issues related to the development and the approach that will be taken to addressing them.

New pedestrian connections would also be created along Cuerdale Lane and Vicarage Lane as part of the plans.

The A59 Preston New Road at Samlesbury, heading towards junction 31 of the M6

South Ribble Borough Council leader Paul Foster told the Post that it is important locals have their say on what would be one of the biggest developments that the district has ever seen.

“We know an application of this size will generate a lot of interest locally so we have asked the developer to ensure that it offers plenty of opportunities for residents and businesses to learn more about what is planned and to provide feedback.

“The principle of a garden village is one that provides a ‘whole’ development with all the infrastructure that is required and so there will be a lot of information to consider over the coming months.

“The first step will be for us to determine this initial application before more information comes forward as part of a detailed application in the future.

The first phase of the proposed garden village would be split across four parcels of land, all bar one of which is to the south of the A59 (image: Kelvin Stuttard)

“The developers have created a website that contains a list of FAQs and how people can take part in the consultations at various stages of the planning process and I’d urge people who are interested to take a look at the information,” Cllr Foster said.

Story Homes does not yet own the land on which the garden village would be built, but holds what is known as an “option” to purchase it.

John Winstanley, Managing Director (Strategic Land) at the company, said that the developer was “excited” to unveil its plans and ask the public to comment on them.

He added: “Our plans have been thoroughly designed with place-making at the core, demonstrating our commitment to delivering an exemplar garden village.

“We are committed to engaging with local people and want to hear your views on the plans through extensive public consultation.

“I would encourage residents to take part in the consultation to have their say and shape the proposals.”

The firm also said that it is “committed to delivering a number of affordable properties in line with [local] policy requirements”, with exact details to be agreed at a later stage.

Central Lancashire's three local authorities stipulate that 35 percent of properties on new estates in rural areas should fall within the affordable category, although developers can provide smaller proportions of affordable housing if they can show their schemes would not be viable if the full quota were fulfilled.

HOW TO HAVE YOUR SAY

Residents can find out more detail about the plans and fill in a feedback form with their thoughts by visiting cuerdalegardenvillage.co.uk.

They can also call a dedicated community information line which has been set up on 0333 358 0502 (Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 5.30pm). Comments and questions can be emailed to [email protected].

Within the consultation period, webinars will be hosted during which residents will have the chance to speak directly to representatives of Story Homes.

The consultation closes on 25th February.

WHAT IS A GARDEN VILLAGE?

The garden village concept has a long history and has been defined differently down the years. They originally began to spring up in the nineteenth century and were usually based around large employers, such as Lever Brothers at Port Sunlight on the Wirral and Cadbury at Bournville in the West Midlands.

The government announced plans for 14 new garden villages back in 2017, although the one now proposed at Samlesbury was not amongst that number.

Ministers said at the time that garden villages should be:

***between 1,500 and 10,000 homes in size;

***new, discrete settlements - not extensions of existing towns or villages.

***local authority-led, as well as being ‘well designed’, ‘high-quality’ and ‘attractive’;

***based upon key “garden city” principles to develop communities that “stand out from the ordinary” and do not just use the term “garden” as a “convenient label”.

Garden cities date back to the early twentieth century and according to the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), the concept could be used as a “framework” for modern-day garden villages.

The organisation says that garden cities were “holistically planned” around jobs, facilities and homes and also provided:

***Genuinely affordable homes for the local workforce

***Access to green space and walking and cycling opportunities

***Services within walking distance of peoples homes.

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