No way through for housebuilder's plans in Bamber Bridge
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Dorbcrest Homes wants to build 11 properties on land off Cottage Gardens in Bamber Bridge – a proposal recommended for approval by South Ribble Borough Council planning officers.
However, the authority’s planning committee refused permission for the new development because of its proposed entry point at the rear of what is currently a dead end.
Cottage Gardens resident Peter Carter rubbished suggestions that the land now proposed for development – which is earmarked for housing under South Ribble’s local plan and is identified as “Site S” - was always going to be part of the road which he calls home.
“People will go to great lengths to make you believe [that],” he told a recent planning committee meeting.
“For the 19 years I have lived here, there has been a wooden fence that has been maintained by residents and separated this part of site S from Cottage Gardens – it was erected when Cottage Gardens was completed and the developer has taken it upon themselves to remove part of the fence and in its place fix a glaring bright mental gate,” Mr. Carter said.
He added that the drainage plans for the new estate – which will require Cottage Gardens to be dug up – suggest that the road was never intended to form part of the proposed development.
The committee heard that the site is surrounded by dozens of poplar trees – and an oak - which are protected by tree preservation orders.
A tree survey found that they are at risk of root failure in high winds - and South Ribble’s arborist approved their removal on the basis of plans for replacement planting. Three other oaks would remain under the proposal.
However, another Cottage Gardens resident – who happens to be a solicitor who specialises in planning – noted “just how unusual the request is to destroy 44 protected trees and their associated habitat”.
“The site can be developed and the protected trees saved – the developer simply has to scale back the number of units proposed for this site,” said Matt Jones.
“Members are justified to take a different view to their planning officers and reject this application on the basis …that the proposal will result [in a loss of protected trees].
"Even if the developer were to appeal, this reason for refusal would likely stand scrutiny,” Mr. Jones added.
The agent for the application, Christie McDonald, said that Dorbcrest had submitted a drainage strategy to give members “some comfort” over the issue, which had been raised at a previous meeting where the plans were considered and a decision deferred.
“The applicant has confirmed that in the event of any damage to the road being caused by construction vehicles or anything else, the road will be repaired and made good,” said Mr. McDonald, adding that a representative of the developer had visited the site to walk the road with Mr. Carter.
However, committee members remained concerned about access and the felling of the trees.
Committee chair Caleb Tomlinson asked: “What’s the point of having tree preservation orders if we’re just going to cut them down?"
Meanwhile, Cllr Barrie Yates - a planning committee member for three decades – insisted that when Site S was first earmarked for housing, the council had resolved that it must be accessed directly from Brindle Road.
“Cottage Gardens was completed over 18 years ago and is not part of the application site,” he said.
The plans were refused after most members voted against them, along with one abstention.
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