Show of strength in housing battle

Angry meeting: Warton residents discuss their fears
Angry meeting: Warton residents discuss their fears
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Hundreds of angered villagers met to discuss the threat of more than one thousand homes being built on their doorstep.

Warton Parish Council held a special meeting to discuss potential development in the village, with campaigners calling on fellow residents to lobby authorities over the plans.

A string of planning applications have targeted Warton in recent months, but the council has put a new neighbourhood plan to consultation which would give developers clearer guidelines about the village’s housing needs.

Mike Wright, from Warton Residents Against Poor Planning (WRAPP), was among the organisers of the meeting.

He said: “There was a lot of emotion and a lot of anger in the room.

“People are still unhappy because they believe we’ve been left open to developers.

“We were encouraged by the turnout and the amount of input we got.”

The Localism Act 2011 introduced new powers allowing parish councils to draw up neighbourhood plans give people more control over the development of their local area.

Once the plan is written and approved it will then be used as guidance when the local planning authority, Fylde Council, considers applications in the village.

Warton’s plan will be produced by the parish council’s neighbourhood plan steering group.

After the consultation the plan will be put to a referendum among villagers.

WRAPP is also encouraging Fylde Council to make its feelings about the scale of development in Warton known to Fylde Council.

Earlier this week Coun Trevor Fiddler, the authority’s portfolio holder for planning and development blamed central Government for allowing developers to submit ad hoc plans.

Mr Wright added: “We want people to continue to lobby Fylde Council in terms of the issues which are facing Warton.

“We feel this has a positive effect over the past 12 months.”

At a meeting of Fylde Council’s development management committee on Wednesday, councillors resolved to refuse an application for up to 360 homes at land on Blackfield End Farm, on Church Road, Warton.

The issue will now go to an Inquiry to be held in October.

The reasons given by the committee were the density of the proposed housing, the scale of the development, and sustainability issues.

A spokesman for Fylde Council said: “We believe it would be harmful to the character and appearance of a rural area and we also had concerns about the ability of the highways network in the area to take the extra traffic.”