Protest groups across central Lancashire are joining forces to fight off rural development on their doorsteps.
Goosnargh and Whittingham Against Over-development, which launched last year, is the latest group to join the move to stop what they claim is over-development of villages across the area.
The groups are aiming to launch a more co-ordinating effort to fight unwelcome housing developments by issuing detailed guidance on how to formally object to them.
They say the areas to the north of Preston City Centre and to the south in Penwortham, are becoming over-crowded with all the housing applications being submitted and granted.
Chairman of the Goosnargh group Michelle Woodburn said: “The Keep Bee Lane Rural action group at Penwortham started the process in order to get everyone together to protest and we have now joined.”
Co-founder of the Keep Bee Lane Rural group Peter Waterhouse said: “We started up as a protest against the 2,000 houses that were being developed on the Pickering Farm site.
“Then we realised there are a lot of other groups protesting and the idea is to bring these different protests groups together to give Lancashire County Council a clear message that residents really don’t want development on green space.
“Traffic will increase and it’s going to destroy the wildlife around here as well.”
The group is now planning a protest march through Preston on Saturday from 10am, meeting at the railway station. From there they will walk up Fishergate and gather in the Flag Market outside the Harris where members will give speeches on the issue.
Mr Waterhouse said: “We will have banners and flags and members of the Labour party will be down here. We are going to walk through town protesting and handing leaflets out.”
The Keep Bee Lane Rural group, which began with two members last year, now has almost 1,300 participants.
In Whittingham, an application for the village fleshes out details for a site which already has ‘reserved matters’ approval for the erection of 206 homes at land off Inglewhite Road.
Agent Martin Parry, of Astle Planning and Design, has submitted the more detailed application to Preston City Council seeking approval for 163 houses.
Applicants Anwyl Homes and David Wilson Homes want to build a mixture of mews, semi-detached and detached family homes in a range of three and four bedroomed homes and one and two bedroomed apartments.
Elsewhere the latest plans for a housing development between Broughton and Whittingham are for eight homes at land to the rear of stables at 907 and 909 Whittingham Lane.
Agent PWA Planning has submitted the application to Preston City Council on behalf of applicant William Thompson Homes Construction.
Documents sent to PCC point out the quantity of houses shooting up in the area. They state: “It is prudent to note at this point that the surrounding area is expected to experience significant residential expansion, with multiple planning permissions for dwellings along Whittingham Lane and Goosnargh and Mill Lane being granted in recent months.
“Moreover, a strategic housing site, the former Whittingham Hospital site, lies to the south of the site off Whittingham Lane, as identified within the Preston Local Plan 2012-26. This is in the process of being built out.”
The 0.5 hectares agricultural site adjoins land associated with Bushells Farm to the west, which has existing planning permission for up to 140 dwellings.
The southern boundary of the site abuts a site which also has planning permission for four dwellings, which is currently under construction. Beyond that lies Whittingham Lane and the former Whittingham Hospital site which is currently being developed by housing developer Taylor Wimpey.
The east and north of the application site comprises of agricultural fields.
The residents’ letter of objection to the latest development at Whittingham says: “This area is being attacked and exploited due to the council’s failure to demonstrate a five-year housing supply and the impact and destruction of Goosnargh as rural village will be irreversible.
“It has been stated many times that the council has set its housing figure too high, so it should now take responsibility and reduce this figure using the tools with which has been provided by the Government.”
The letter also argues that new developments should be redirected to the Whittingham Hospital site, which has been allocated for 750 houses.
The letter states: “Also worth noting that this development on the Whittingham Hospital site has stalled, and those properties which have been built have been slow to sell, and some still remain unsold, proving there is no need to additional housing provision in this area.”
A 44-acre village extension is also planned in rural Wyre.
Wyre Council launched a consultation on the agricultural site to the west of Great Eccleston last year and the responses have now been published.
The planned site could accommodate nearly 385 homes, a health centre, employment space, and a primary school.
The council supported a six week consultation, along with planner De Pol, on the masterplan concepts from December 11 to January 22.
It says in regards to the masterplan: “The emerging Wyre local plan allocates land for a substantial village extension at Great Eccleston.
“The extension will create a mixed use development including residential and employment uses, a community hall, medical centre, new primary school, and local small convenience store.”
Following the consultation, the council will now use the responses received to ‘inform’ the development of the final masterplan which will be progressed by De Pol Associates and the council.
The site would be to the immediate west of the village and is bordered by Garstang Road and Copp Lane.
Part of the site to the south of Copp Lane already has planning consent for 183 homes and a health centre which is being built out by Rowland Homes.
Funding is set aside by the local Clinical Commissioning Group to deliver the health centre which would be twice the size of the current medical centre based on Raikes Road.
Beverley Melvin, headteacher at Great Eccleston Copp CE School responded to the consultation and said: “Building another school in a village where there are already two schools is counterproductive to what we are trying to achieve and we would politely request that this proposal is withdraw from the plans.”
Other protest groups involved...
Say No to Chainhouse Lane
New Hope Resistance Camp
Strawberry Valley Park
Frack Free Lancashire
Say No to Bridge Street Developments
Save Our Greenbelt at Yew Tree Farm