Inspector to rule on homes after inquiry

September 2003 aerials.'Warton, Poplar Avenue and Beech Avenue. PIC BY ROB LOCK
September 2003 aerials.'Warton, Poplar Avenue and Beech Avenue. PIC BY ROB LOCK
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A planning inspector is to rule on plans for 360 homes in Warton, following a public inquiry.

He will now make site visits around the village before making a recommendation to Secretary of State Eric Pickles over the plans.

Residents are waiting to hear whether Hallam Land Management will be allowed to build the homes on either side of Church Road, on the edge of the village.

Together with 416 homes already approved, permission would see the number of houses in Warton increase by almost 50 per cent.

Fylde Council, which has objected to the application, called three witnesses to the inquiry to give evidence on highways, sustainability and other matters.

But Hallam Land Management, the appellant, claimed Fylde Council could not yet demonstrate a five-year supply of homes for the borough, giving the developer a stronger legal case for housebuilding.

Residents and third parties were then allowed to make representations.

Coun Julie Brickles said the lack of a finalised Local Plan for Fylde was an issue, but hoped a Neighbourhood Plan drawn up for the village would help residents oppose the expansion.

She added: “It will be interesting to see just how much weight is given to these plans in the final ruling.

“We’re expecting it to be made in April – it seems like a lifetime away. I’m hopeful though.”

Warton Parish Council and Kirkwell’s Planning Consultants, engaged by the parish to support its Neighbourhood Plan, gave evidence against the scheme.

Also speaking against the scheme at the inquiry were representatives from Warton Residents Against Poor Planning (WRAPP), the Council for the Protection of Rural England, and a member of the Warton Neighbourhood Steering Plan group.

Coun Brickles added: “The standard of evidence given was extremely high, and I’m incredibly proud to be part of such a wonderful village.

“I’m hopeful the inspector will recognise the amount of work that’s gone into our Neighbourhood Plan and gives it the real weight it deserves.”

Hallam argued the Enterprise Zone on BAE Systems land would attract many jobs to the area, and Fylde Council had not yet met its agreed five-year supply of homes demanded by the Government.

Mike Wright, of WRAPP, said: “I felt the inquiry went as well as could be expected, the inspector gave everyone the opportunity to speak.

“Fylde Council put forward a strong case.

“Hallam tried to dismiss our Neighbourhood Plan, which is out to consultation.

“We’re not anti-growth – the plan allows for a 40 per cent increase in the size of the village.”

The inspector will make site visits around Warton next week.