Blackpool Council accused of trying to 'dump another 330 houses on our doorstep for financial gain'

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A war of words has broken out over Blackpool Council's plans to build 330 homes over the border in Wyre - on fields that are not earmarked for such development.


Wyre's planning chief, Coun Michael Vincent, accused the neighbouring authority of trying to "essentially dump another 330 houses on our doorstep for financial gain" and said he will officially object to Blackpool's bid to build houses and apartments on land south of Blackpool Road in Carleton.

The land off Blackpool Road in Carleton, where Blackpool Council wants to build 330 homes

The land off Blackpool Road in Carleton, where Blackpool Council wants to build 330 homes

"It seems to be quite clear that Blackpool Council have a policy of 'What happens in Wyre doesn't matter,' and I'm not happy about it," he said.

Coun Vincent said Wyre wasn't told Blackpool had applied for government cash to build infrastructure to unlock three parcels of land it owns - including off Blackpool Road, near to Carleton Crematorium - until it announced it was successful early last year, which he described as a "discourtesy".

And though he said residents were "reluctantly on board" with plans to build 300 homes on adjacent land because a master plan will be in place for a primary school, car parking, and infrastructure, he said: "To then say, 'Oh and, by the way, there's another 300 houses', would be a bit much".

He added: "I don't think people would support that. I have not found anybody who thinks it would be a good idea. I have not found anybody who thinks the infrastructure could cope with it.

Blackpool Road in Carleton, and hedges running alongside the edge of the proposed development site on the right

Blackpool Road in Carleton, and hedges running alongside the edge of the proposed development site on the right

"I have already asked for it to be called into committee. It won't be dealt with by planners, it will be dealt with by the planning committee. And I will be making my displeasure known at that committee.

"They don't seem to care what we think, but obviously the residents do. Our residents do have a voice and Blackpool Council can't just essentially dump another 330 houses on our doorstep for financial gain, which ultimately is what this is, and not be held accountable for what they are trying to do.

"We will be making that displeasure very clear at the planning committee."

Detached, semi-detached, and terraced houses and apartments are planned for the site. Natural features, including ponds, hedges, and trees, are set to be retained, while a 10m-wide "landscape buffer" will run along the three sides of the site abutting the countryside.

The land off Blackpool Road in Carleton is no longer classed as green belt land, according to Blackpool Council

The land off Blackpool Road in Carleton is no longer classed as green belt land, according to Blackpool Council

But some residents have already raised concerns over flooding and traffic. One, who said granting permission would be "highly irresponsible", said there are "frequent traffic queues" in the road and added: "To suggest that traffic is already heavy and that the addition of perhaps another 450-600 vehicles, or more, from the proposed development will only have negligible effect on the local highway network is simply wrong."

Another added: "There has been a significant developments in and around Poulton, which is already putting significant strain on the local services; roads, schools and NHS to name only three. The addition of 330 further houses, a possible increase in population of over 1,000, will create further issues."

And a third said: "Blackpool Road often has problems with deep standing water and the fields are often very wet. The drains in this area struggle with the existing waste water and I would be very concerned of the effect the additional houses would have."

When asked why Blackpool Council was looking to build in a different borough, the authority said it owns the land, which "has been released from the green belt".

Coun Michael Vincent said he will object to plans to build another 330 homes on land off Blackpool Road, Carleton

Coun Michael Vincent said he will object to plans to build another 330 homes on land off Blackpool Road, Carleton

It said: "In early 2018, Blackpool Council received £3.15m of government funding from the Land Release Fund to ensure necessary infrastructure is in place to allow council-owned land to potentially be used to build new homes."

Alexis De Pol from De Pol Associates, the consultancy firm that submitted the outline planning application for Blackpool Council, said "around 99" of the homes would be affordable, "thereby supporting the drive to deliver some of the thousands of new homes needed by Wyre Council in the coming years".

He added: "While the application site is not within an allocated area, it lies immediately adjacent to one and has been identified by the Local Plan Examination Inspector as sustainably located.

"It is accessible to the existing town centre and the borough’s only railway station, and within the defined settlement boundary of an urban town where the local plan strategy seeks to direct new housing development.”

De Pol Associates said the land was “released from the Green Belt by the Wyre Local Plan in February”.

The application remains open for comments.