Developer asked for £12m funding for new school to make Preston 1,100 home plan a reality

A new primary school could be built in north Preston if a giant housing development is given the green light.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 7:00 am

Bosses at Preston Council have recommended that plans for 1,100 homes on farmland around Bartle Hall are approved if the developers make a contribution of £12.12m and five acres of land for a school building.

Under a Section 106 Agreement, the council also wants a guarantee of open space and sports provision, management and maintenance of areas of amenity greenspace on-site, a travel plan and co-ordinator, bus service routing and service frequency, and an option for off-site provision of affordable housing planning.

If the conditions are not met by April 16, then the decision could be delegated to the council's director of development to refuse planning permission on the grounds that the obligations which make the development acceptable have not been legally secured.

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Fields set to be developed in Bartle

The project will transform open countryside in the Bartle area into a new residential hub split across four zones.

The homes and apartments would straddle the £200m Preston Western Distributor road (PWD) which is currently being built to connect the M55 motorway with Blackpool Road at Lea.

They would also leave the award-winning 17th century Bartle Hall and its 16 acres of gardens and woodlands encircled.

>>>Read more about the area affected here

As well as the homes, the application by The Robertson Group and The Trustees of the Tom Barron (1978) Pension Scheme, includes full planning permission for a new roundabout junction on Preston Western Relief Road with two spur road accesses off the roundabout.

The proposed roundabout would have a 46m diameter and would have three 4m wide lanes circulating it. The roundabout would provide direct access to the applicant’s existing land holdings surrounding the PWDR.

It is proposed that the eastern and western arms of the roundabout would provide access to the proposed residential development.

The four zones of development would comprise the following:

Zone A: Set to the east of the PWDR and north of Bartle Lane, which would include up to 278 dwellings with a mixture of 1-2 bedroom apartments and 2-5 bedroom dwellings. The density of development would be up to 34.7 dwellings per hectare (dph).

Zone B: Set to the west of the PWDR, north of Bartle Hall and east of Rosemary Lane, which would include up to 389 dwellings with a mixture of 1-2 bedroom apartments and 2-5 bedroom dwellings. The density of development would be up to 33.4 dph.

Zone C: Set to the west of Lea Lane and north of Blackleach Lane, which would include up to 178 no. dwellings with a mixture of 2 bedroom apartments and 2-5 bedroom dwellings. The density of development would be up to 33.4dph.

Zone D Set to the south of Blackleach Lane and west of Lea Lane, abutting the administrative boundary of Fylde Borough Council, which would include 233no. dwellings with a mixture of 2-5 bedroom dwellings. The density of development would be up to 34.0dph.

The total number of residential units would reduce to up to 1,050 properties with the inclusion of land for a primary school and local facilities, which would be located within Zone B.

Education bosses at Lancashire County Council have made the school contributions calculation based on the assumption that all proposed dwellings will be four-bedroom dwellings.

A maximum total claim based on four bedroom dwellings would generate a need for 418 primary school places to be provided by a financial contribution of £8,315,173.68 and a need for 110 secondary school places to be provided by a financial contribution of £3,805,188.75, which could increase to £3,989,886.45 should the school places be needed at the proposed North West Preston secondary school site.

Department for Education Guidance also states that a nursery would also be required on site.

There have been 15 objections to the plans, including one letter signed by eight households.

Concerns raised included the environmental impact upon the area, the impact upon Bartle Hall and surrounding gardens and woodlands, the road network into Preston from the proposed development is not sufficient to handle extra cars that would result from the development, adding a new junction to the Preston Western Distributor would cause congestion to the M55, the current waste water drainage will not support the development, and the proposals would be overbearing and out-of-scale.

Woodplumpton Parish Council has objected to the plans, stating the proposed development is identified as open countryside in the adopted Preston Local Plan and is contrary to policy.

They say Preston can demonstrate a 13.6 years’ worth of development land - well in excess of the five year housing land supply, and that as construction work has already started on the PWDR, it would be a "knee-jerk" reaction to propose a new roundabout at such a late stage.

This proposed development is part of a massive construction bonanza in north Preston that has already swallowed up hundreds of acres of countryside in the biggest building boom the city has ever seen.

Councillors on the city council's planning committee make a final decision on the scheme at a planning meeting on Thursday, April 1.