New ‘town’ plans set for thumbs up

1,400 new homes, a school and a health centre to be built over the next 10 to 15 years.
1,400 new homes, a school and a health centre to be built over the next 10 to 15 years.
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A £200m development on the edge of Blackpool looks set to get the final go ahead paving the way for 1,400 new homes, a school and a health centre to be built over the next 10 to 15 years.

The plans to develop 225 acres of land at Whyndyke Farm, alongside junction 4 of the M55, are earmarked for approval by Blackpool Council’s planning committee on Tuesday.

Land at Whyndyke Farm, off Preston New Road, which is earmarked for 1,400 new homes.

Land at Whyndyke Farm, off Preston New Road, which is earmarked for 1,400 new homes.

Work could begin next year on the site which is owned by a consortium including the Oyston family.

But conditions would be imposed ensuring investment in roads, schools and community facilities. Architects have been working on the huge scheme for four years.

Most of the site is within Fylde Council’s planning jurisdiction, with its planners approving an application in June.

But the impact will be felt largely on Blackpool’s urban area with demand for school places and health care expected to increase.

However developers say the scheme, which also includes nearly 50 acres of employment land, will bring a huge economic boost to the resort.

Alban Cassidy, a director of Preston-based architects Cassidy and Ashton which has brought the scheme forward, said: “It will bring huge economic benefits over the next 10 to 20 years while the development is being built, and within the employment land.

“The new residents will also be shopping in Blackpool town centre and using local entertainment venues.

“There is already strong interest in the site from house-builders, and interest in the employment land which is well situated alongside the motorway.”

The proposal, although only an outline application at present, would involve 350 two-bed, 700 three-bed, 280 four-bed and 70 five-bed properties on the northern part of the site along with a two-form primary school and two neighbourhood centres containing retail space, a health centre, a pub, residential units, a café, offices and a takeaway with vehicle access onto Preston New Road and Mythop Road.

Legal agreements will ensure payments are made by the developers towards affordable housing in Blackpool and Fylde, as well as funding towards increasing capacity in local secondary schools.

A report to Blackpool’s planning committee says: “Blackpool’s position is that the children will naturally drift towards secondary provision within Blackpool and this will give concern to an already overcrowded service.

“Blackpool would be looking for some form of commuted sum to be allocated to the authority to alleviate the strain on Blackpool’s education provision.”

Of the 1,400 homes planned, 1,250 would be built within Fylde borough and 150 in Blackpool’s boundaries.

There is already an entrance to the site from Preston New Road, servicing the Harbour mental health hospital, but there will also be a new access created opposite Clifton Road and improvements made to the M55 roundabout. A further access will be built from Mythop Road.

Mr Cassidy added: “This is the last piece of the jigsaw and we would hope to be on site by the end of next year, with the first houses being built in early 2017.

“Building would be phased, with the first block of houses - around 200 - being built adjacent to the hospital.

“The whole development overall is expected to cost more than £200m.”

During the consultation process, 20 objections were received to the scheme with concerns raised in relation to increased traffic, flooding fears, pressure on schools, and loss of wildlife habitat.

Gary Smith, chairman of Mereside Residents Association, said: “Traffic congestion is a big concern because most households have two cars these days.

“Just bringing traffic in from the M55 and thinking it can turn right won’t work.

“There are already waiting lists for St George’s High School and Mereside Primary so where would children go to school without travelling miles?

“There are a lot of issues to consider.”

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England supports the plans , saying it accepts greenfield sites need to be developed and backing the “retention of existing ponds and drainage, hedgerows and coppices” as well as proposed new planting and landscaping.