Plans for 51 new homes in Broughton near Preston are refused

Plans for dozens of new homes in rural Preston have been thrown out by councillors.

By Paul Faulkner
Monday, 10th January 2022, 8:25 pm
Updated Monday, 10th January 2022, 8:26 pm

Hollins Strategic Land LLP had made a bid to build up to 51 properties on a plot to the west of Garstang Road in Broughton.

However, the application was rejected by Preston City Council’s planning committee, because it would have seen houses spring up in an area of open countryside - against local planning policies.

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The layout plan for the rejected development, to the west of Garstang Road and just south of the Guild Wheel (image: Sedgwick Associates via Preston City Council planning portal)

A Central Lancashire-wide strategy sets out a “hierarchy” of locations where housebuilding should be prioritised, which encourages the use of previously developed so-called “brownfield” sites and those close to key service centres.

The Garstang Road site is at the bottom of that hierarchy - and is located beyond the Broughton village settlement boundary. In a document accompanying the application for the proposed estate, it was claimed that the plot is a “logical infilling of a single field” between two other recently-allowed developments.

Infilling is one of the exceptions under which small-scale housebuilding in areas of open countryside in Preston might be allowed. However, planning officers disagreed that the proposal met that description.

Broughton Parish Council, which objected to the plans, said that permission for the neighbouring estates cited by the applicant had been granted because Preston City Council was, at time, unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of land for new housing, as required under national planning rules - a position which has since changed.

The developer had proposed that 18 of the dwellings on the plot would be classified as “affordable homes” - meaning that the firm would have fulfilled the 35 percent quota for the proportion of such properties to be included on rural developments in the Preston area.

However, city council planning officer James Mercer described this and other claimed benefits of the proposal as “generic” and said that they were “no more than [should be] expected” for a development of this type. He said that any posited benefits should be given “limited weight” as a result.

Nobody representing the applicant or their agent attended the meeting to address the committee.

Committee member Cllr David Borrow described the decision to be made by him and his colleagues about the application as “pretty straightforward”.

Noting the conflict with local planning policy, he added: “I see no reason why we should approve it.”

Most of his fellow members agreed - and the proposal was rejected by a majority of eight votes to one.