Oppopsition as plans passed for Mawdesley housing

Plans have been approved for four new homes on the site of a former garage in Mawdesley.

Saturday, 30th May 2020, 12:35 am
Updated Saturday, 30th May 2020, 12:36 am

Chorley Council’s planning committee has granted outline permission for the development on land off New Street, which has been disused for the past decade.

Details of the design of the houses and the layout of the properties will require further approval at a later date.

But the very principal of redeveloping the plot proved controversial at a virtual meeting of Chorley Council’s planning committee.

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Four homes can be built on land off New Street - but the detailed designs will come later (image: Google Streetview)

Local resident Valerie Allen told members that the land had been reclaimed by nature since the garage closed – and that the new homes could push already stretched services in the village past breaking point.

“The need for more large, detached houses in Mawdesley has not been met. The 56 houses [granted permission] on the site of Goodyear’s on Gorsey Lane [include] four and five-bed houses…many of which remain unsold.

“Assuming a family of four with two cars, that will already add another 224 people and 112 cars to the village – a village which has only two schools, one shop and a public house. With a limited bus service to Chorley and Southport, any more pressure on these amenities will result in schools being oversubscribed,” Ms Allen said.

Committee member Steve Holgate also warned that the proposal risked creating more commuting out of the village.

“We should be trying to create villages with a mixed economy and this is just adding more houses and more people to travel farther and increase [their] carbon footprint when we should be trying to encourage the opposite,” he said.

But planning officers recommended that the application be approved after concluding that the small-scale nature of the development – and its location on already-developed land – made it suitable for the village.

Rob Harrison, the agent for the application, said that the council’s own assessment of the proposed scheme had raised no concerns that it would damage the character of the area or the amenity of existing residents.

“No employment will be lost, as the site is [currently used] for private storage. A comprehensive marketing strategy was undertaken [by the council] and there was no demand for the site for employment uses,” Mr. Harrison said.

Mawdesley Parish Council had questioned the robustness of that exercise and added that the plans would damage the “charm and heritage” of the village.

However, principal planning officer Iain Crossland said that “poor access for commercial activity and the unsuitability of the site for…industry given the surrounding residential uses” had made it an unattractive proposition for a return to commercial development.

Committee member Alistair Morwood said that he was content to accept that the site was suitable for housing – but would be looking at the details of the scheme which is eventually put forward.

“I’m sure the developer will take into account everything that has been said will ensure there is some decent landscaping and that the houses aren’t going to be too tall,” he said.

A report presented to the committee said that the siting of the properties would require “careful consideration” at the next stage in the planning process.