Rethink lifeline for Fylde Village plans

Eric Pickles

Eric Pickles

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A DEVELOPER has been handed a lifeline in its bid to build an estate dubbed the “New Fylde Village”.

Kensington’s application to build more than 1,000 homes on land off Queensway, in St Annes, was refused by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, last summer – prompting jubilation among campaigners.

But now that ruling is being reviewed after Mr Pickles’ decision to scrap house building targets – known as the RSS (regional spatial strategy) – was overturned.

This means it cannot be used as a reason to throw out Kensington’s appeal.

Mr Pickles is also set to consider the relevance of Lancashire County Council’s fresh application to build the M55 link road – seen as key to the estate – and is offering everyone who spoke at last year’s public inquiry the chance to make their views known ahead of his decision.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “One of the options the secretary of state has is to have another public inquiry, and I don’t think that would be productive.

“It’s up to the Secretary of State to make a decision and I really hope he takes into account the arguments put forward by local people.

“And if it’s possible we’re building the number of houses they’re talking about at Whyndyke Farm. It blows out of the water the argument for building thousands of additional homes across Fylde.”

Local residents campaigned hard against the plans, which could see 1,150 homes transform the 160 acres of land stretching from Queensway to Cypress Point.

And St Annes resident Anne Fielding said: “I don’t think Kensington stand any chance of winning, especially as local residents are so opposed to it. There’s a really strong movement against it.”

The Queensway Environment Defenders (QED), a protest group who formed to fight the development, added: “We welcome the opportunity afforded by the Secretary of State to make further representations.

“We are studying the detail of the letter and expect to make a number of further representations.

“We will also be publishing advice for Defenders on our website.”

Fylde Council is opposed to the development, and has said councillors will discuss what representations should be made on their behalf.

Considered

A spokesman said: “We will be responding and the response will be considered by councillors.

“We don’t believe planning permission should be granted and will make that case.”

The RSS could be formally scrapped later this year when new legislation is passed by Parliament.

Residents and organisations have until March 16 to respond to Mr Pickles’ request.

Kensington declined to comment.