Four planning applications could see 630 homes built on farmland between Poulton and Carleton - but only three are in the council's 'masterplan'

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Farmland between Poulton and Carleton could have 630 homes built on it as part of four major house-building schemes - but only three form part of the council's masterplan for the area.

Planners in Wyre believe fields south of Blackpool Road are ripe for development and want to build up to 300 houses, a new primary school, and a car park to "serve Poulton town centre" there.

An artist's impression of what the huge new housing development on farmland off Blackpool Road, between Poulton and Carleton, could look like (Picture: Wyre Council)

An artist's impression of what the huge new housing development on farmland off Blackpool Road, between Poulton and Carleton, could look like (Picture: Wyre Council)

But while three planning applications lodged by developers are being considered as part of the masterplan, which is out for a public consultation, a fourth has hit the authority with a swerve-ball.

That was lodged by Blackpool Council, which owns the land next door and wants to build an extra 330 homes there after getting £3.15 million from the Government to 'unlock' a number of sites it can use for new homes.

Neighbours are now rallying against the move, which some claim will destroy Carleton's identity while crippling the roads and local services. All four bids have received objections.

One resident said: "Carleton is its own village and is currently separated from Poulton by the current greenbelt land. This will disappear under this application, along with the significant wildlife currently occupying these fields."

The farmland, pictured in September 2019, where Blackpool Council wants to build 330 homes, in move that has been opposed by some residents and Wyre's planning chief Coun Michael Vincent (Picture: Michael Holmes for JPIMedia)

The farmland, pictured in September 2019, where Blackpool Council wants to build 330 homes, in move that has been opposed by some residents and Wyre's planning chief Coun Michael Vincent (Picture: Michael Holmes for JPIMedia)

A public consultation on the masterplan - which sets out the council's vision for the 48 acre farmland - has now been extended so more residents can have their say until 5pm on Friday, January 24.

They have also been urged to go to St Martin and St Hilda's Church hall, in Fleetwood Road, Carleton, from 1pm until 6.30pm this Friday to voice their views.

While the authority is considering bids from Story Homes for up to 187 homes, Baxter Homes for 35 homes, and Applethwaite Ltd for 42 retirement bungalows, it is also looking at Blackpool's application for a further 330 homes it had not planned for.

The move angered the borough's planning chief Coun Michael Vincent, who claimed Blackpool blindsided planners.

Story Homes wants to build up to 187 new homes, access roads, open space, landscaping, a two form entry primary school, and 374 car parking spaces on land off Blackpool Road, Carleton (Picture: Wyre Council/Story Homes)

Story Homes wants to build up to 187 new homes, access roads, open space, landscaping, a two form entry primary school, and 374 car parking spaces on land off Blackpool Road, Carleton (Picture: Wyre Council/Story Homes)

He told The Gazette: "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."

Coun Vincent said Wyre wasn't told Blackpool had applied for Government funding to build infrastructure to unlock three parcels of land it owns, including off Blackpool Road near the crematorium, until it announced it was successful in 2018, which he described as a "discourtesy".

And although he said residents were "reluctantly on board" with the homes outlined in the masterplan, he said: "To then say, 'Oh, and by the way, there's another 300 houses', would be a bit much.

"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.

Baxter Homes wants to build up to 35 homes off Tithebarn Street in Poulton (Picture: Wyre Council/CFM Consultants)

Baxter Homes wants to build up to 35 homes off Tithebarn Street in Poulton (Picture: Wyre Council/CFM Consultants)

"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."

Wyre's local plan, which earmarks land suitable for new homes, said Blackpool Road could cope with 300 homes, though it doesn't include the parcel of land Blackpool Council wants to build on, and that could offer hope for those opposed to the idea.

In September 2016, a government inspector overturned Wyre Council's decision to refuse Wain Homes planning permission for 165 homes off Lambs Road in Thornton, even though she said it would impact on the character and look of the area, because it had no local plan and could not show it had a five-year supply of housing land, as required by the government.

A year later, the authority drafted a 167-page document detailing exactly where the borough's 8,615 new homes could be built by 2031, which could make it easier for planners to reject Blackpool's bid.

Applethwaite Ltd wants to build 42 retirement bungalows on land off Blackpool Road, Carleton (Picture: Wyre Council/Woodcroft Design)

Applethwaite Ltd wants to build 42 retirement bungalows on land off Blackpool Road, Carleton (Picture: Wyre Council/Woodcroft Design)

But Alexis De Pol, the managing director at the planning consultancy De Pol Associates, which lodged Blackpool Council's plans, said: "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."

A Blackpool Council spokesman added: "A decision on the planning application will be made by Wyre Borough Council’s planning committee and through the consultations that they will undertake, opportunity exists for anyone to make representations on the application."

The masterplan said the vision is to "create a new sustainable neighbourhood", which it said would be "integrated into the existing fabric of the town and wider landscape in terms of its design and layout".

It said: "The development will have a strong identity that responds positively to the local context. It will be a 'green' place that incorporates a range of integrated landscaped and green spaces that will provide formal and informal recreation opportunities accessible to new and existing residents."

The car park would have 100 spaces but would fall within a flood zone, which is acknowledged within the plan, which said: "However, it is deemed to be the most appropriate deliverable location close to Poulton town centre."

The tallest buildings would be 2.5 storeys high, the plans added, and the homes would be a mix of apartments, bungalows, townhouses, semi-detached, and detached homes.

Around 30 per cent would be classed as "affordable housing", which means they should be affordable by families on below average incomes.

Around four-and-a-half of the site's 19.5 hectares would "remain free of built development due to flood risk", the plan also said, while a children's play area would also be built.

THE FOUR PLANNING APPLICATIONS

Story Homes - Up to 187 homes, access roads, open space, landscaping, and a two form entry primary school, as well as 374 car parking spaces - land south of Blackpool Road, Carleton

The developer said it wants to build 131 market homes and 56 affordable homes, which would be a mix of one, two, three, four, and five-bedroom homes, which would be a mix of apartments, mews, semi-detached, and detached houses.

Around 35 homes would be built per year for five years, it said, with development "expected to start on site [in] early 2020 should planning permission be granted".

Story Homes would give the county council the cash to build a new primary school.

It said it sent letters to 135 residents living near the site to tell them of a public consultation, but received only 18 responses.

"The feedback ... was mixed, with many of the respondents raising concerns about the impact of the development on local infrastructure", documents said.

"There were several responses that did, however, acknowledge the need for housing in the borough."

Worries included traffic jams, local facilities such as schools and GP surgeries not being able to cope, farmland being replaced by homes, and the impact on wildlife.

"Whilst some residents raised concerns regarding development on greenbelt land, it should be reiterated that the site is allocated for housing within the Wyre local plan and this has been acknowledged by the council and some of the local community," documents added.

"As such, the principle of housing development on the site is generally supported."

A number of objections were also filed with the council.

One neighbour said the scheme would "result in devastating long-term effects for everyone".

Another said the "extreme" traffic at rush-hour would be "exacerbated by adding any additional vehicles" and added: "Common sense, environmental awareness, and acting in the best interest of the community have been completely ignored in order to tick boxes and take a back door route. Sliding the local plan in without raising awareness in the community has removed the voice of the people in order to fulfill bureaucratic decision-making 350 miles away.

"Wyre had plenty of alternative options to fulfill their local plan requirements. It is bewildering they think this option is reasonable."

Baxter Homes - Up to 35 homes - land south of Tithebarn Street, Poulton

The house builder said it wants to put up homes of "various designs to accommodate a wide range of occupants, including two, three, four, and five-bedroom houses, principally two or two-and-a-half storeys, including affordable accommodation and age-related dwellings".

The land, off Tithebarn Street, Poulton, has been used to keep horses on for over 20 years but has "become overgrown and the dilapidated buildings and associated fences are unsightly and are visually detrimental to the main access into Poulton," documents said.

Stephen King, of Whimbrel Drive, Thornton, backed the scheme. He said in a letter of support filed with planners: "I drive through this area frequently on my way to work and look onto this unused land that is, at the moment, quite an eyesore.

"I often wonder why no-one has developed it for very much needed housing and so was very pleased to see this application. I would love to see it developed and would be interested to purchase in this area myself. It would only enhance the desirability of the area and be a great asset to the Poulton area."

And Amy Stevenson, of Tithebarn Street, Poulton, added: "This application would be a drastic improvement on the current state of the land, which is an eyesore not only to us but all of our neighbours and people driving and walking by.

"The land now is open to fly-tipping and is generally seen as a dumping ground. The land currently attractions children and young adults causing disruption and people stopping to urinate in the evenings. I feel this would not be the case if the land was developed."

But a resident in Chester Avenue said: "I'm really unhappy about the proposal. I recently purchased a house on Chester Avenue. One of the biggest reasons was for the view from the bottom of the garden as well as the lack of noise.

"That will now be ruined with that being replaced by seeing houses instead. Everyone on Chester Avenue will be in this same position, potentially reducing the value of our properties."

Applethwaite Ltd - 42 bungalows for people over 55, with car parking, open space, and access from Blackpool Road - land south of Blackpool Road, Carleton

The firm wants to build six one, 26 two, and 10 three-bedroom bungalows for people over 55.

Without the masterplan being in place, the Poulton-le-Fylde Historical and Civic Society, which was asked about the application, said it would be "difficult to comment", though it outlined several main concerns.

"The effects of increasing traffic flows on Wyre's already overburdened minor road network", was one of them, while the "ecological impact of building on such a scale on one of the few remaining green open spaces in an increasingly urban landscape" and the "effects on local services and amenities" were the others.

One neighbour said they were also worried about traffic - and the potential for flooding.

"The roads of the surrounding area are busy enough and cannot cope with any increase in traffic," they said.

"It is already stressful for drivers trying to get across the level crossing at Carleton to get into Poulton from the Castle Gardens at peak times.

"The roads are often flooded in wet weather and adding more properties will only ask more of an already struggling drainage system."

Blackpool Council - Up to 330 homes and associated infrastructure - land south of Blackpool Road, Carleton

The authority owns the land, which falls inside the neighbouring border of Wyre Council, and said its huge development would be an "organic extension to Poulton".

Detached, semi-detached, and terraced houses and apartments are planned. Some 99 would be affordable.

Natural features, including ponds, hedges, and trees would be kept, while a 10m-wide 'landscape buffer' would run along the three sides of the site abutting the countryside.

The county council said it would be asking for money towards school places, with a number of neighbours objected, citing fears over traffic, wildlife, the impact on local services, flooding, and even climate change.

One resident said: "This agricultural land has been farmed for decades and is a pleasant visual border between Poulton and Blackpool, giving air quality and diversity ... instead of profit from concreting the area for 330 dwellings."

Another wrote: "My concerns are historic, in that I grew up in Carleton and still retain our family home in the village. I feel that Carleton would lose its village identity and would just become one large suburb of Poulton.

"There has been very extensive building in Carleton over the last 20 years. The current open space and environmental aspects continue to make it a lovely place to live.

"At the moment, Carleton is quite often gridlocked. It is difficult to travel as there are so many cars. This would become every worse if this development were to go ahead."

They said Blackpool Road, where "there have been many accidents", often floods during heavy rainfall, and added: "I do not think additional housing on already badly-drained land would help this situation."

Another neighbour added: "It baffles me that at a time when climate change is so crucial and high on the agenda, and as a country we are looking at way to decrease carbon monoxide, we are considering decimating our green areas."

* To see the draft masterplan, and to fill in a consultant form, click here

Blackpool Council wants to build 330 homes on land off Blackpool Road, Carleton. The authority owns the land, which falls beyond its borders in Wyre (Picture: Wyre Council/Blackpool Council)

Blackpool Council wants to build 330 homes on land off Blackpool Road, Carleton. The authority owns the land, which falls beyond its borders in Wyre (Picture: Wyre Council/Blackpool Council)

An artist's impression of what the huge new housing development on farmland off Blackpool Road, between Poulton and Carleton, could look like (Picture: Wyre Council)

An artist's impression of what the huge new housing development on farmland off Blackpool Road, between Poulton and Carleton, could look like (Picture: Wyre Council)

Blackpool Road in Carleton, pictured in September 2019. Land to the right of the picture could be developed into a huge new housing estate, despite fears about traffic on the road during rush hour (Picture: Michael Holmes for JPIMedia)

Blackpool Road in Carleton, pictured in September 2019. Land to the right of the picture could be developed into a huge new housing estate, despite fears about traffic on the road during rush hour (Picture: Michael Holmes for JPIMedia)