False figures claim forces veto U-turn

The planning inquiry into 100 new homes on Mowbreck Lane, Wesham, begins.
The planning inquiry into 100 new homes on Mowbreck Lane, Wesham, begins.
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TOWN Hall chiefs have been forced to back out of a fight against a new homes development after they were accused of giving false information about new housing figures so they could refuse the plans.

A planning inquiry began yesterday as building company Metacre Ltd attempts to overturn Fylde Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for 100 new homes off Mowbreck Lane, Wesham.

The developer claims the scheme would help the authority meet a Government-imposed target requiring it to approve enough new affordable housing to meet a five-year need.

Town hall chiefs claim there is currently a 3.8 year supply but the developer said those figures were wrong, and there was actually only a 1.5 year supply of affordable homes in Fylde

And because it could not prove where its numbers came from, Fylde Council has been forced to offer no evidence at the appeal to create the new homes in rural Fylde.

If the appeal, being heard at Wesham community Centre, is allowed, it could pave the way for other developers to build on green sites throughout the area.

Currently awaiting planning permission are Bloor Homes, which wants to build 150 homes between the A583 and A585 close to the Kirkham bypass, and Gledman which has plans to build 180 homes off nearby Blackpool Road.

Developer Jones Homes, which already has permission to build 28 homes on Chain Lane, Staining, also hopes to get planning permission to build 42 more.

Alan Evans, representing the council at the planning inquiry, said the authority was so far working to meet the five year quota, but Roger Lancaster, for the appellant, said the council’s figures were off.

And because the council cannot prove its figures, Mr Evans said it no longer had a case.

Speaking at the hearing, which is expected to last up to four days, he said: “This is an unusual course of action that is embarked upon with a degree of reluctance.

“Our evidence was that the authority is approaching the position where the anticipated levels of greenfield development were at the point of being reached and would shortly be exceeded.”

But Mr Lancaster said the council’s figures were wrong, and new development was necessary in the area.

He added: “Our proposal will provide a positive contribution towards addressing the affordable housing shortfall both in Kirkham and Wesham and the borough.”

The burden of the case against the appeal now falls to the Wesham Action Group (WAG), which hopes to prove the five-year need for Fylde is not as great as first thought.

WAG’s Andrea Galbraith said: “We are using evidence based on the last appeal decision and local knowledge.”

The hearing is expected to last until Friday.

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