THE fate of a controversial housing estate hangs in the balance after the Government called for yet more evidence on the scheme.
Kensington Development’s bid to build 1,150 on land off Queensway in St Annes was the subject of a second public inquiry in January – but now a change in Government policy could alter the outcome.
Secretary of State Eric Pickles has put back his decision on the estate to allow the developer, Fylde Council and local residents to put forward their comments on the way the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) – new guidance on developments for councils – will affect the scheme.
Residents’ protest group the Queensway Environmental Defenders will make a fresh written statement, and spokesman Adrian Fielding said: “We now need to go through the NPFF in detail and see how it will affect the case.
“In certain areas the greenbelt has better protection which is one of the things in our favour, but then you have all the other things around a presumption more in favour of development.
“It’s going to be one of the early precedent cases in determining how the planning framework gets interpreted.”
The new framework stipulates brownfield sites should usually be developed before greenfield sites and town centres before out-of-town sites.
The new guidelines, are built around a “presumption in favour of sustainable development”, which planners are told should balance the needs of the environment, economic sustainability and social needs.
It is the second time a change in government policy has directly affected the Queensway scheme. Kensington lost the first planning inquiry, but the case had to be heard again in January after a change in legislation saw that decision overturned.
None of the parties are allowed to submit fresh evidence, and can only comment on the ways the NPFF affects evidence already put forward.
Fylde Council will also submit a statement, and a spokesman said: “In light of the NPFF we will be making further comments. We are still considering what we need to say having studied the new framework fully.”
A decision is now due on June 21.