Twenty objections were lodged to the application for nine detached properties on land adjoining Tusons Farm in Walmer Bridge.
A meeting of South Ribble Borough Council’s planning committee heard that a single family had owned and managed the agricultural plot off Gill Lane for 65 years. It was originally reduced in size in the late 1960s when the Roxburgh and Great Gill housing estates were built – and the business later diversified into horse livery.
However, members were told that the stabling venture closed back in 2015 and the remaining 22 acres of land was “not sustainable” for farming.
Planning agent Sophie Marshall suggested that the application was both tame and timely.
“Rather than take the approach of cramming in as much housing [as possible], the development offers the potential for increased open space and gardens – and the ability for garages and offices to facilitate the increased level of home working which is expected to continue.”
However, South Ribble’s planning department recommended that councillors reject the proposal – largely because the land lies in an area designated as greenbelt.
Permission for development in greenbelt is usually granted only if exceptional circumstances can be shown to justify it – or if it could be considered “limited infilling” between existing built-up areas.
Planning officer Catherine Lewis told the committee that the scale of the proposed development made it more “akin to a village expansion”.
The site also sits outside the official Walmer Bridge village boundary – and while the authority accepted that the geographical relationship of a proposed development to any nearby settlement was “more relevant” than a strict line on a map, the application did not find favour with South Ribble planners.
“Officers would argue that, while adjacent to the settlement boundary, there are no direct highway or pedestrian linkages to the proposed estate – rather a long walk down the agricultural track to Gill Lane,” Ms. Lewis said.
“[We] have concerns about the changes to the character of the access lane and the impact upon residential amenity that the proposed development would have – especially to those properties that back on to the lane.”
The committee was similarly unimpressed – and unanimously rejected the application.
“I don’t see anything that says these buildings are exceptional [in] that they can encroach on greenbelt,” said Cllr Keith Martin.