Garstang’s housing boom could be bigger than feared as councillors seek to place a limit on new homes.
This week the town council publicly acknowledged the number of new houses built there could soar way beyond local expectations.
It wants to set a ceiling of 1,300 new houses for the town and surrounding area – with 589 planning applications already mooted or being considered.
The new figure, more than double that predicted, follows the confidential presentation of a forward plan to the Town Council by Wyre Council.
Now town councillors have warned of a potential shortfall in school and surgery places, and are demanding improved school, health and leisure facilities.
A wish list of improvements to the town’s infrastructure includes suggestions for new sport facilities, including a swimming pool, car parking facilities opposite SS Michael and Mary’s school and a pedestrian bridge over the River Wyre.
The Town Council made it clear it wants to see any developers observe strict design guidelines in the town’s Conservation Area, it wants the town to retain the Community Centre building which houses the Town Council ‘s own offices for community and civic events and it wants town amenities and parking to be much improved.
The demands follow Wyre Council’s consultations on the ‘Emerging Local Plan’ which will guide future development across Wyre.
This week the Town Council approved the minutes of a recent behind closed doors extraordinary meeting held to discuss the Plan.
At that meeting – which Town Mayor Coun Graham Salisbury did not attend due to his professional interest in planning matters – councillors noted: “as a result of new Government figures and policy the current figure of 550 new homes for Garstang and Catterall (Core Strategy 2012) would need to be revised.”
Press and public had been excluded from the discussion, said the Town Council following guidance from Wyre Council about “the confidential nature of the potential sites.”
The Plan covers an area from Gubberford Lane’s junction with the A6 at Cabus in the north to 39 Garstang Road at Bowgreave in the south, to Parkhead Lane, Barnacre with Bonds in the east and the war memorial on Longmoor Lane, Nateby, in the west.
Current planning applications approved or being considered for this area include: 320 homes at Nateby/Garstang ,130 homes for the Kepple Lane/A 6 junction site, 75 for Utopia Park and 64 for The Toppings.
The council noted that substantial sums have been spent in Poulton and Thornton and Cleveleys and Garstang needed proportional investment as the” major service centre in the east”
It also called for buffer zones betweenemployment and housing areas.