Plans for 270 homes in Garstang to be decided under emergency coronavirus powers this week

A long-running Garstang planning saga could finally come to a conclusion this week – with a behind-closed-doors decision on a major proposed housing and employment development on the outskirts of the town.

By Paul Faulkner
Monday, 4th May 2020, 6:27 pm
Updated Monday, 4th May 2020, 6:30 pm

It will be the third time that the application – for 270 homes and nearly 6,000 square metres of office and industrial space on land between Nateby Crossing Lane and Croston Barn Lane, to the west of the A6 – has been considered by Wyre Council.

Planning officers have recommended that the outline scheme be approved. But emergency-decision-making powers mean that the final say will rest not with the authority’s cross-party planning committee, but its chief executive, in consultation with the committee chair and vice-chair.

The arrangements have been put in place to allow planning decisions to continue in the absence of formal council committee meetings during the coronavirus crisis. A remote meeting will take in place in private on Wednesday afternoon (6th May), with the minutes published later.

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The triangular parcel of land where the houses and offices are set to be built (image: Google)

But residents can still make their opinions known if they register by 2pm on Tuesday (5th May) and submit their comments by 1pm on the day of the meeting itself.

The application was first approved more than three years ago and since been back before the committee on two occasions, where amendments to the housing mix and access points were also given the go-ahead.

But in the meantime, Wyre last year adopted a new local plan, which officially earmarked the site for housing and employment purposes – but required a new masterplan and further public consultation over the application.

The original 2017 application attracted 150 objections, while the proposal to be decided this week has been the subject of 16. Amongst them are concerns over additional traffic being generated on the A6 – and the potential for congestion caused by a new roundabout which will provide one of three access points to the site – as well as fears of an increased flood risk.

Garstang Town Council has also objected to the inclusion of a general retail store and drive-through coffee shop as part of the development, stating: “We wish to protect the Garstang town centre retail conservation area, which currently has several vacant retail spaces”.

But the applicant, J. Chippendale Limited, claims that the coffee shop will provide an “attractive meeting hub” and planning officers have concluded that neither element will cause “any unacceptable impacts upon the health or viability of Garstang town centre or any other established shopping centres”.

Plans for an underpass between the proposed development and Garstang have now been scrapped and pedestrian and cycle links to Garstang town centre will be provided via ‘toucan’ crossing points at the new roundabout. Green infrastructure and landscaped open spaces also form part of the plans.

Any approval of the development would be subject to a legal agreement securing developer-funded highway improvements in the area, including a speed limit review on 40mph sections of the A6 and improvements to pedestrian and cycle facilities along the busy route, including at the six-arm signal-controlled junction immediately to the north of the roundabout.

Registration to make a representation can be emailed to [email protected] by 2pm on Tuesday 5th May.

An earlier version of the scheme was rejected y Wyre's planning committee in 2016.