Lancashire County Council looks to sell Greenbelt land it bought 20 years ago to build Penwortham Bypass

Lancashire County Council is looking to sell off swathes of Green Belt land it put aside for building Penwortham Bypass.
An outline of the land up for sale. Aerial image courtesy of Google.An outline of the land up for sale. Aerial image courtesy of Google.
An outline of the land up for sale. Aerial image courtesy of Google.

The authority bought 10.85acres of land between 249 Chapel Lane and Saunders Lane, New Longton, in 1998 when the route of the bypass had been touted as a ‘blue route’ from the Longton bypass junction with Chapel Lane to the Broad Oak Lane roundabout in Penwortham.

The controversial route meant cutting across large amounts of farmland and impacting on the rural villages of Whitestake and New Longton.

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When funding for the scheme eventually became available through the £434m City Deal, a ‘brown route’ across playing fields at Howick off Liverpool Road, coming out at the Broad Oak Lane roundabout, was chosen and is now under construction.

To make the sale of the land more attractive, Lancashire County Council (LCC) has applied for permission for a new field access to the southern area, between 233 and 249 Chapel Lane.

If given the go-ahead, there would be a five-metre wide gated access set nine metres back from the hedge boundary to the highway.

Plans also show the land - larger than eight football pitches - divided up into four smaller parcels, with LCC commenting it would consider selling individually.

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The application went before Longton Parish Council and no objections were made.

Parish Council chairman, Councillor Graham Gooch, said; “Any application for future development after sale would be a matter for South Ribble Borough Council, but I am not aware of any plan for development.”

LCC has been quick to state that development of the land is not planned.

A spokesman for LCC said: “This is greenbelt land, which we’re currently preparing to dispose of. Any future use would need to be in keeping with this status.

“It’s recently been used for silage for animal fodder.”

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Planning documents state: “It should be noted that the access proposal is not directly linked to any currently projected material change of use of the land or construction of new buildings.”