A planning wrangle over Preston’s supply of housing sites could have far-reaching implications.
During inquiry proceedings earlier in February the city council was forced to concede it “cannot demonstrate a five year supply” of housing land, a government requirement.
Developers had triggered the appeal after two sites in Broughton were rejected last year by the town hall over concerns they would cause an “in appropriate expansion of a rural village”.
READ MORE: Housing development bids part of appeal
On legal advice, the council “ended its participation” in the inquiry. It disputes aspects of the government’s policy on housing land supply.
An independent inspector will report on the outcome of the inquiry in April but the highlighted lack of a five year supply may leave the town hall open to an influx of housing bids or appeals.
The town hall said it is “considering how it deals with other applications for housing development” in the meantime, adding that regulations on land supply requirements may change this year.
READ MORE: Developers rejected on second Preston village site
Village expansion plan thrown out
Chris Hayward, director of planning, said: “Upon advice from our barrister, we took the decision to end our participation in the inquiry. We continue to have concerns about the policy on housing land supply and the uncertainty this creates, even when there is a recently-adopted local plan in place.
"We feel that this undermines confidence in the planning system, a view we have already expressed to the minister for planning.”
The plans for Broughton, either side of Garstang Road, are for up to 227 homes. They were rejected after being deemed to be counter to local planning guidelines.
But the five year supply requirement supersedes such local frameworks and may impact on both this specific decision and any future planning bids or appeals.
Broughton Parish Council, which made representations to the inspector during the inquiry, hopes it has still done enough for the council’s original decisions to reject to be upheld.
A spokesman said: “We can only hope that we have made a good enough case.”