Appeal lodged by developer for Thornton retirement flats

A housing developer has lodged an appeal and accused the planning committee of "unreasonable behaviour" after controversial plans to build flats in Thornton were refused.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 12:30 pm

Wyre Council' s planning committee threw out developer James Carter Homes' plans demolish the property Craiglands in Hillylaid Road for new 33 retirement flats in April, amid concerns there were too few parking spaces proposed to accommodate the number of flats.

Some 22 spaces had been outlined for 29 one-bed and four two-bed apartments.

The committee also deemed the scale of the proposed buildings to be "out of keeping" with other properties in the area.

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Craiglands, Hillylaid Road, Thornton.

Before the application went to committee, some 48 objections had been lodged by concerned neighbours.

Coun Kenneth Minto told the committee: "This is a very serious application for this area, and primarily the developers have gone in gung-ho without listening to local residents or doing any scene or witness surveys on the services systems.

"We have a planned building that will be oppressive and overbearing on its surrounding properties.

"A man on a galloping horse can see this development does not fit in with the area, ticks all the wrong boxes, and increases all the problems we already have with services and sewers."

But the developer has now appealed against the decision.

The firm also requested reimbursement for the cost of the appeal - on the grounds of the planning committee's alleged "unreasonable behaviour."

Appeal documentation said: "This application for costs comes in light of the unreasonable behaviour of the LPA’s planning committee, which has led to the appellant incurring unnecessary costs in bringing this appeal.

"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.

"We would respectfully ask that the appeal be allowed, and planning permission granted for the proposed development."

The plans first sparked controversy in July 2019, when trees surrounding the house were felled before planning permission was granted - but Wyre Council said they were done so legally.

However, Coun Minto said the council's tree officer was challenged about "30 plus" trees being felled with no indication they would be replaced - to be told "he was on holiday" when it happened.