Appeal lodged for huge 165-home development

Residents opposed to controversial planning proposals face a fresh fight against developers hoping to build in the Wyre countryside.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 22nd September 2015, 11:04 am
Wainhomes wants outline planning permission to build 165 homes in countryside at Thornton
Wainhomes wants outline planning permission to build 165 homes in countryside at Thornton

Councillors last month threw out plans to build 165 homes in Thornton after being bombarded by hundreds of objections – despite planning officers recommending the scheme for approval.

Wainhomes (North West) has now lodged an appeal against the decision, which was made due to concerns about the size and location of the proposed development, on land off Lambs Road.

Wainhomes has called for a two-day inquiry to be held due to the ‘substantial local interest’ and intends to call two witnesses.

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Ben Wallace

A date has yet to be set, but residents said they are ready to fight again and have reacted to news of the appeal with fighting spirit.

Clare Longton wrote on the SOS Save Our Stanah and Little Thornton’s Facebook page: “Fight number two here we come.”

Pat Hignett added: “Running shoes ready for round two.”

And Katie Powell wrote: “Fingers crossed it will be rejected again.”

Furious residents – many of whom form part of the group – sent hundreds of letters of objection to the council.

They expressed concerns over traffic, saying roads were ‘already at breaking point’, the size, scale, and location of the development, and about local wildlife.

Some also said the increase in population could overwhlem ‘limited’ NHS services.

Ben Wallace, Conservative MP for Wyre, also raised ‘serious concerns’ in his response to the plans.

He said: “If this planning application is granted permission it would demonstrate that planning in Wyre is developer-led rather than planner-led.”

The 5.8 hectare site, a derelict pig farm, currently houses nine buildings and a farmyard and is identified in Wyre Council’s Local Plan as ‘countryside’.

The application only sought outline planning permission for the development of up to 165 homes, with access from Lambs Road and Raikes Road, but documents submitted along with it showed a feasibility sketch layout to ‘provide an example of how the site may be developed’.

Outline planning applications are lodged to find out if a council finds a proposed development acceptable before a fully detailed plan is put forward.

Despite the authority’s planning officers advising councillors the application should be given the go-ahead, they instead refused permission at a meeting on August 5.

Head of planning services at Wyre Council, David Thow, said in his decision to refuse permission: “The proposed development, by reason of its size and location, would extend development into the open countryside and would be visually intrusive and detrimental to the character of this part of open countryside, and the wider countryside area.”

An earlier outline application for the same land, for another residential development, submitted 20 years ago was refused.

SOS Save Our Stanah and Little Thornton has invited anybody who wishes to attend its AGM to The Ashley Club in Victoria Road East, Thornton, from 7.30pm on Sunday.

Wainhomes’ latest move is expected to dominate the agenda.

The group is also looking for volunteers to sit on the committee for the next 12 months.

Nominations can be made on Sunday.

The current chairman is Barry Hart, the treasurer is Nish Karunasekara, and the secretary is Helen Walmsley.