An initial proposal for the estate - on land south of Bartle Lane - would have seen access roads built across the land reserved for the park in order to reach a part of the development to be situated on the south east side of the open space. A number of properties would also have been built in a north western area of the plot earmarked to become part of the park.
However, negotiations between Preston City Council and housebuilder Hollins Homes Limited resulted in the applicant’s blueprint being rethought in order to protect the “garden city” environment underpinning the development of around 5,500 homes in the North West Preston area over a 20-year period through to the mid-2030s.
Planning case officer James Mercer told a meeting of the authority’s planning committee that the original design would have had “a significant detrimental impact on the delivery of the metropolitan park... which [would] both impact the amount of land available and break its connectivity”.
He added that it could have set a precedent for development within the planned park and eroded the council’s aspiration to create a high-quality living environment for new residents.
The committee granted outline approval for a total of 195 new homes and full permission for the first phase of the development, totalling 55 properties.
Under the revised plans, the housebuilder agreed to remove the section of the development to the south east of the park - meaning that there was no longer any need for roads to access it.
The firm has also said it will transfer the land where those properties would have been built to the city council for £1, meaning that this area can now become part of the park. That move will offset the homes to be included in what was initially intended for parkland to the north west.
Mr. Mercer told the committee that the arrangement was considered an “equitable” approach to enabling the delivery of the number of homes planned.
Committee member David Borrow said it was important to ensure that the land earmarked for the park was “preserved".
It is not the first time that the metropolitan park has been eyed for development. Back in April, an application by Wainhomes sought to build three quarters of a proposed 42-dwelling estate within the planned park area.
Four pieces of green infrastructure will be created as part of the wider North West Preston development - two of which will be metropolitan parks.
Permission for the Hollins Homes development has been granted pending an agreement for the firm to make a contribution to the cost of the East-West link road and to commit to 30 percent of the properties being built to be classed in the affordable homes category.