A housing bonanza in the north of Preston is proving so popular that developers have upped their building rate to cope with demand.
This is the first aerial view showing part of the housing revolution that is transforming the north of Preston.
The intention is to build around 6,000 new homes in a green corridor across the top of the city.
Work is under way on at least 20 new developments in a broad arc from Eastway through to Cottam, with properties already on the market on all of the sites.
Our bird’s eye view shows one of them, the 300-home D’Urton Manor scheme, off Eastway, which was started during the winter.
And the man whose committee has overseen a Klondike-style dash to develop the green belt between Fulwood, Cottam and the M55 motorway says the building boom illustrates the confidence being shown in Preston.
“The developers tell us they are selling the houses, so they are obviously needed,” said Coun Brian Rollo, who has been Labour planning chairman throughout the North Preston housing bonanza.
“We have a net requirement for 507 houses to be built every year. In total there will be 6,000 going up within the next 10 years.
“When we originally passed these schemes the build rate on each site was set at 30 a year. Now the developers have upped it to 40 because they are selling them.”
With the new homes will come new roads, shops, schools and medical centres.
But a chicken and egg debate has been causing hackles to rise in the corridors of power at the Town Hall.
Should it be houses first and then the infrastructure to serve them, or vice versa?
“It’s chaos,” stormed Tory councillor Christine Abram, who lives in the middle of a fast-developing Cottam and claims the road network is now unable to cope with both site traffic and the
extra cars of families moving in.
“My view is there are too many housebuilding projects going on at the same time. It’s already horrendous trying to get around – and most of the houses aren’t even built yet.
“And where are these thousands of families who are going to buy all these executive homes? Most people can’t afford them.”
The city’s Liberal Democrats would appear to share the Tory view, although Coun Jason Jeffrey, who also lives in Cottam, insists his opinion is “purely personal”.
“There is obviously a need for extra housing, we all seem to agree on that,” he told the Post. “But the way it is being done in North West Preston is completely unacceptable.
“We asked for the infrastructure to be in place before the houses are built. How can you build all this with nothing in place?
“It’s total chaos. We are already seeing some of this now with just a few of the houses built. But it is going to be a nightmare when it’s done.”
Developers including Story, Pringle, Taylor Wimpey, Barratt, Eccleston, Charles Church, Wainhomes and Redrow are now selling new homes along the northern corridor.
D’Urton Manor is one of the largest projects with Story Homes having signed an agreement with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to develop the site between Eastway and D’Urton Lane.
On a visit to the site last September, HCA chairman Sir Edward Lister hailed the scheme for “turning the plans of the City Deal into the reality of new homes and successful places.”
Eastway is one of 11 key sites identified as part of the 10-year City Deal signed by Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire Councils in 2013.
D’Urton Manor has planning permission to provide 300 properties, which include 45 affordable homes and a local centre providing shops, a community space and a care facility.
Coun Peter Rankin, leader of Preston City Council, added: “Building new homes for families and future generations is key to Preston’s future success.
“And this is what City Deal is all about – investing in infrastructure and laying firm foundations for new homes, new jobs and a flourishing Preston and Lancashire economy.
“These really are exciting times for Preston.”
The HCA owns 11 sites in the Preston area which have a potential to deliver more than 3,800 new homes for local people over the next decade.
Story Homes sales manager Clare Wilson said: “This is our flagship site in Preston and we are proud to see the development come to life.
“Twenty-five families have bought off0plan with seven families moving in to D’Urton Manor in the last few weeks. It’s great to see the site in full in these aerial photos.”
City Deal cash is providing new road schemes to access the new developments, but those are all still at the planning stage.
The Preston Western Distributor (PWD) will be a 4.3km dual-carriageway linking the A583 at Lea to the M55 at Bartle. The East West Link Road is to be a 3.4km single carriageway linking Lightfoot Lane to the PWD.
And, as part of the PWD, a single carriageway – the Cottam Link Road – will join Cottam Way with the PWD just north of the Lancaster Canal.