Holiday village plan 'will ruin Preston countryside spot where deer roam', Goosnargh residents warn

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A holiday village looks set to spring up on a former golf course in rural Preston.

Councillors will be advised by town hall planning officials to approve the proposed redevelopment of the Goosnargh Golf Club site when they consider a blueprint for the disused facility next week.

If they do give it the green light, 130 holiday lodges will be installed on the countryside plot, on Inglewhite Road - along with space for 26 touring caravan pitches. The vision for the land also includes a central holiday village facilities building, featuring a swimming pool and tennis courts.

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However, nine nearby residents feel that the plans for the site are below par - and have lodged objections laying out a raft of concerns.

The former nine-hole Goosnargh golf course has not seen play since the summer of 2019The former nine-hole Goosnargh golf course has not seen play since the summer of 2019
The former nine-hole Goosnargh golf course has not seen play since the summer of 2019

One householder has told the Lancashire Post that the character of the one-time sporting facility, which last saw golfing action in August 2019, has been misrepresented in the planning application - something that they fear will conjure up the wrong image in the minds of the planning committee members who will make the final decision.

“Although this site has been very cleverly labelled by the applicants as 'derelict', prompting visions of an industrial wasteland rather than the overgrown, beautiful green space - filled with trees, running water and deer accompanied by views of Beacon Fell - that it actually is, it is unlikely the decision-makers in this instance will be worried, as it’s not on their doorstep.

“There are not enough residents impacted to worry about any powerful pushback and the wildlife in the hedgerows - the wild hares, the barn owls and moles - are unlikely to be able to object as the hordes of tourists move in. Businesses hoping to benefit a few miles away will certainly be sold the cash benefits and not the compromises,” said the resident, who did not want to be named.

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The plans for the near 26-hectare site also include a building to service the tourer facilities, a welcome kiosk and 14 office pods.

The former Goosnargh Golf Club site is a rural idyll at risk of being ruined, locals have saidThe former Goosnargh Golf Club site is a rural idyll at risk of being ruined, locals have said
The former Goosnargh Golf Club site is a rural idyll at risk of being ruined, locals have said

A report to be presented to councillors notes that a Central Lancashire-wide planning strategy provides for “the principle of allowing caravan and camping uses on appropriate sites and with a proven demand”.

However, a claimed lack of need is just one of the reasons that locals have given for why they believe the plans, by GHV Limited, should be driven into the rough - and stay there.

The resident who has spoken to the Post fears that they and their neighbours are fighting a losing “David-versus-Goliath battle with wealthy investors, developers and planning agencies”.

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“Inglewhite Road, already a fast road which takes traffic from Preston to Longridge and cannot be widened without infringing on countryside and hedgerow, will inevitably become a death trap as speeding cars meet manoeuvring caravans entering and leaving the site. With no pavements, pedestrians - including any tourists venturing from the site and seeking a nice walk - will face risking their lives.

How the lodges on Goosnargh Holiday Village would look if they get the go-ahead from councillors (image: FWP Ltd., via Preston City Council planning portal)How the lodges on Goosnargh Holiday Village would look if they get the go-ahead from councillors (image: FWP Ltd., via Preston City Council planning portal)
How the lodges on Goosnargh Holiday Village would look if they get the go-ahead from councillors (image: FWP Ltd., via Preston City Council planning portal)

“We can only hope the developers preserve the public footpath which runs through the site and attempt to respect the dark sky zone though we are baffled how they will be possibly able to manage this.

“I also hope the business model of the caravan park, promoted optimistically and without context as ‘upmarket’, is a viable one and that this is not a stepping stone to downgrade the land use to make way for another housing estate on rapidly dwindling green space in Lancashire,” they added.

Councillors will be told of landscaping plans for the plot that will include “large areas of mixed-species woodland tree planting” to bolster those existing young trees which would be retained, beyond the large swathes of them that will have to be removed from the site.

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Existing ponds would be improved and new ones created, it is pledged, while wildflowers, grasses and shrubs would also be planted to provide screening between the lodges and around the site perimeter.

Locals last week received a letter inviting them to comment on an amendment to the application - with the closing date for submissions being the date of the committee hearing next Thursday. Preston City Council has told the Post that the change relates to an error in the previously published written description of the proposed development, which referred to 127 lodges rather than 130.

If councillors do approve the proposal, it will be with the caveat that they delegate authority to the Director of Development and Housing at the city council to consider any further representations that are received before ultimately granting permission.

The planning agent for the application has been approached by the Post for comment.