Rural bid to stall builders

Fylde MP Mark Menzies (below) welcomes a crack down on judicial reviews.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies (below) welcomes a crack down on judicial reviews.

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RURAL neighbours who fear their towns and villages are being targeted by developers are calling for action.

Kirkham Coun Liz Oades has seen three applications submitted for housing developments on the outskirts of the rural town.

Coun Liz Oades

Coun Liz Oades

Councillors in Wesham are continuing to fight housing plans and the village of Wrea Green recently lost a battle to stop a field being transformed into a new estate.

Coun Oades, leader of the opposition at Fylde Council, has now called a special council meeting to discuss the issue.

She wants councillors to join her in calling on the Government to change its planning policy.

She said: “The Government legislation on planning at the moment is, in my view, a charter for development.

“I don’t think it’s good that developers should be in charge of setting where housing is going – that should be the job of the council.”

Fylde Council is currently in the process of drawing up its local plan, which will outline where the authority wants new homes to be built, but until it is in place councillors must ensure they approve enough homes to have a five-year supply of new housing.

This has meant in recent months councillors have been forced to approve new developments – including new homes in Richmond Avenue, Wrea Green – in a bid to meet that number.

But Coun Oades is concerned developers are now lodging applications to build in the countryside before the local plan is in place, with no intention of building the homes until the property market improves.

And Singleton Coun Maxine Chew, who has supported Coun Oades’ call, added: “Power has been put into the developer’s hands and they are destroying the uniqueness and character of our beautiful countryside.

“None of our rural villages or land are in any way safe from developers.”

The special meeting will take place on Monday, November 12 at 7pm in the United Reformed Church, St Georges Road, St Annes.

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