Controversial plans for 330 homes in Poulton refused

Controversial plans to  build up to 330 new homes on farmland between Poulton and Carleton have been refused by Wyre planners

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 9:25 am
The applicants wanted to build up to 330 homes on land south of Blackpool Road, between Poulton and Carleton

Members of the planning committee rejected the outline application, earmarked for land south of Blackpool Road, because of concerns over traffic congestion on Poulton’s already busy roads as well as road safety.

The proposed development, which had already been deferred twice, also attracted criticism because the site had not been allocated for development in Wyre’s Local Plan.

Councillors at the meeting on Wednesday raised fears Poulton was in danger of becoming a free for all for developers who thought they could “build where they liked”.

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Applicants De Pol Associates had submitted the plans on behalf of land owner Blackpool Council, after the authority was granted £3.15 million from the Government to unlock a number of sites for housing.

The proposals had attracted the interest of the Secretary of State for Housing, and the councillors needed to make a decision prior to the minister deciding whether to call-in the application.

They overwhelmingly rejected it, even though planning officers had recommended it, albeit with conditions.

Coun Alf Clempson, speaking as a County councillor, said: “This application will have a severe impact on not only Poulton but the surrounding road infrastructure which is already stretched to capacity.

“I would like to say how shocked I am that this application has been recommended for permission by officers of Wyre planning department.

“Why are Wyre planning officers ignoring their own policy and going against their own Plan?

“Remember this land is not in the Local Plan so should have some protection.

“In ignoring and disregarding this, Wyre planning officers are basically sending out the message that it does not matter and their aim is to pass developments no matter what the cost is to the local community. This is staggering and in the long term will be seen as wrong.

“Over-development is killing Poulton and having a severe effect on highway safety.”

He said that Lancashire County Council highways should have been stronger in challenging the plans.

Concern over the traffic issue focused on the design of a proposed new junction at Blackpool Old Road and Blackpool Road, with the risk of even greater congestion and fears that it would further encourage drivers to take risks to beat the jams.

Coun Lesley McKay, member for Poulton’s Tithebarn ward, said the applicants had not submitted further evidence when requested to do so and were treating the planning committee with contempt.

Applicant Alexis dePol opted not to speak at the meeting but answered a question about road layout.

David Thow, head of planning, said: “It is acknowledged that this is not an allocated site within the Local Plan, however it is land that falls within the settlement boundary

“Any development within the settlement boundary is acceptable in principle, subject to other meeting all the policy requirements of the Local Plan.”

There are already a number of separate housing proposals by other developers on neighbouring land, involving around 300 additional homes, but all of these fall within the Local Plan.

Councillors rejected the application on the grounds of the severe impact it would have on highway safety, which could not be mitigated by any measures the applicants had proposed.