Inspector dismisses appeal over controversial apartments plan in Thornton

A housing developer’s appeal after its controversial plans to build flats in Thornton were rejected has been dismissed by a planning inspector.

By Richard Hunt
Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 8:30 am
Updated Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 8:36 am

James Carter Homes had applied for outline planning permission to demolish an existing derelict house and build 33 apartments for people aged 55 and over on land at Craiglands, off Hillylaid Road.

But the plans proved controversial, with almost 50 Thornton residents objecting amidst concerns over parking and road safety issues.

When then application came before Wyre’s planning committee in April last year, councillors threw the plans out, agreeing that there were too few parking spaces proposed to accommodate the number of flats.

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An appeal over plans to build apartments in Thornton has been dismissed

Some 22 spaces had been outlined for 29 one-bed and four two-bed apartments, with no visitor spaces.

Councillors also cited the effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the area, and questioned whether the proposal would make adequate provision for affordable housing, healthcare and public open space.

However, James Carter Homes appealed against the decision.

Appeal documents stated: “From a review of the deliberations leading up to the decision, it is clear that members [of the planning committee] disregarded the pertinent matters before them, as set out by the officer’s report and recommendations, the presentation by senior officers and the applicant’s agent and further guidance throughout the item.

“Members appeared to be willing to refuse the application, wholly contrary to officer and statutory consultee advice, on parking alone.

“Until directed to find another reason’ this would have been solely, and erroneously, on parking alone. This is despite relevant parking standards being expressed as a maximum’ and the framework being clear on when a proposal can be refused on highways grounds.”

Planning inspector Mark Caine, whist disagreeing that the proposals would have an unacceptable effect on highway safety, noted: "I find that the proposal would not make adequate provision for affordable housing and healthcare.

"As such, it would conflict with Local Plan policies which seek, amongst other matters, to provide on and off-site affordable housing and to promote the health and well-being of local communities.

"Despite my findings on the character and appearance of the area and highway safety, I consider the harm that would be caused by the proposed development.

"Therefore, the appeal should be dismissed."