APPLICATION REFUSED!

The committee members were split along party lines at the December meeting of the Planing Committee on Thursday evening (8th December). Conservative members voted to accept the application whilst Labour members voted to refuse.

Refusal was on the basis of proposals to build within the Coastal Zone and on the poor offer of only 11% affordable housing.

There will no doubt be an appeal against the decision but those voting to refuse made it clear that they were supporting the residents of Tarleton & Hesketh Bank and that they deserved a better proposal than was offered.

There was much discussion of the traffic problems on Hesketh Lane. Kevin Farrington of Persimmon claimed that the development would actually help to improve the traffic problems.

When this application returns, and we’re sure it will, let’s hope there will be better community involvement and a proposal that will not seek to build in the Coastal Zone but develop more of the Brownfield. A proposal that makes specific provision for the elderly might not signifficantly add to the traffic problems of Hesketh Lane and may indeed bring the required employment to this Rural Development Opportunity.

Persimmon lodge amendments to their application

Persimmon have proposed an amendment to their Reserve Matters application for residential development on the site of the old Brickworks in Hesketh Bank and adjacent Greenfield in Tarleton.
This application, originally lodged  in March, still seeks to build on the more lucrative greenfield and avoids the need to deal with the disused tip.
Much of this greenfield is on land designated as coastal zone, where residential development is not permitted.
They propose to cram in 211 dwellings on the site and many of these new residents will join you all in slow progress along Hesketh Lane.
Despite what many will tell you, this is by no means a done deal. If you are concerned about this proposal, please let the planning department know by lodging a valid objection.

Documents relating to the application may be viewed on the planning website using that reference, or through this link:
2016/0279/ARM – associated documents

HBTAG guidance on how to comment on this application may be found here:
Make a Planning comment

Application for 211 dwellings slipped in before Easter

Local Residents close to the proposed development of Altys Brickworks and adjacent Greenfield in Hesketh Bank & Tarleton received notification dated 22nd March that Persimmon Homes lodged a planning application for 211 dwellings on the site of Altys old brick works and the adjacent Greenfield site.

The application reference number is 2016/0279/ARM – Approval of Reserved Matters for the erection of 211 dwellings including associated infrastructure and details of appearance, landscaping, layout and scale.

Documents relating to the application may be viewed on the planning website using that reference, or through this link:
2016/0279/ARM – associated documents

Of the 211 dwellings, 46 are planned to be built within the Coastal Zone, an area protected against residential development in the West Lancashire’s Local Plan 2012-2027 by Policy EN2.5.

In their Planning statement, Persimmon seek to justify their assault on the Coastal Zone on the basis that neither the Marine Management Organisation nor the Environment Agency have objected to their plan. Unfortunately for Persimmon, the Local Plan makes no mention of relaxing policy EN2.5 in the event of lack of objection to a plan to build there.

We hope our Council and their officers have the integrity to uphold the policies in the Local Plan to protect the villages from an unsustainable over-development. Upholding the policy regarding Coastal Zone alone will reduce the development by 22% and bring a huge benefit to residents of a reduction in future traffic flows along local roads, Hesketh Lane in particular.

 

If you wish to comment on this application you can do so in the following ways:

  • Through the Council’s website Online Service – Planning Application Comments
    (enter  the new application number 2016/0279/ARM)
  • By email to plan.apps@westlancs.gov.uk
    (include full application reference number (2016/0279/ARM) and your full name and address
    send your comment as a word or PDF attachment then your email address will not be publicly displayed
    )
  • By writing to:
    P.O. Box16, 52 Derby Street, Ormskirk. West Lancashire L39 2DF
    (include full application reference number (2016/0279/ARM) and your full name and address)

Comments must be received no later than 21st April 2016


How to make a valid planning comment:

Comments on Planning Applications are only valid if they include the following:

  • Include reference to the planning application  (in this case 2016/0279/ARM)
    (it is good practice to also describe this: “Building of up to 211 dwellings on Altys Brickworks and adjoining Greenfield” should do)
  • You must include Your full name & address
  • Don’t use your signature, just print your name
  • Don’t include your telephone number
  • Don’t be rude or abusive or your comment will be rejected
  • If you want your comment to be taken as an objection, use the words  “I object”  so your intentions are clear
  • A group comment counts as one comment so send individual ones
  • Send your comments by one of the methods shown above

Response to Persimmon’s leaflet

Today we sent the following response to Persimmon’s leaflet which was delivered to some residents of Tarleton & Hesketh Bank on Sunday 7th Feb:

It is a positive step that the proposed number of dwellings has reduced from the original planning application, but the need for such a high density development has still not been established.

Given the limited information provided within Persimmon’s leaflet regarding Alty’s Brickworks residential development the following concerns remain:

  • It is both surprising and disappointing that such a prominent, national developer would seek to build on land designated as Coastal Zone, where house building is not permitted according to Policy EN2.5 within the adopted Local Plan for West Lancashire. It is even more surprising that this disregard of plan policy has remained largely unchallenged by the planning department since the submission of the original application, shortly after the adoption of the Local Plan.

According to the ambitiously titled “masterplan” plan recently provided it appears that approximately 20% of the proposed development would be on land where house building is not permitted. There can be no justification for this.

  • The proposal also does not appear to comply with Policy EC3 within the adopted Local Plan because it does not deliver mixed use, including employment.
  • This developer led proposal therefore ignores “the presumption in favour” of the local plan.
  • In the section “Progress so far” the leaflet is factually incorrect to state that within the Local Plan”…there was an allocation for up to 270 houses.” The Local Plan refers only to an “anticipated site capacity of 270 dwellings” and the Independent Inspector clarified that this does not guarantee delivery of a specific number of units.
  • We would challenge the assertion, made in the leaflet, of a strong infrastructure. Residents and local councillors know the road infrastructure is inadequate to take current traffic levels, let alone the increased levels of traffic that would be generated by the proposed development. In particular, there is not the opportunity to improve Hesketh Lane (the one route in and out of Tarleton & Hesketh Bank).

The recent request by Persimmon to remove condition 30 (detailing the efficiency and sustainability measures to be incorporated into the building design and construction) from the outline planning permission, the proposal to close nearby pumping stations and the fact that the sewerage system is inadequate for the existing number of dwellings would all indicate there will not be a strong infrastructure to support development of the size proposed.

  • The leaflet claims “potential inward investment into the area is considerable and this will increase with the addition of the Community Infrastructure Levy (approximately £1,600,000) ..”. Is either the local council or Persimmon in a position to confirm that all, or at least the majority of this CIL money will be spent on improving Hesketh Bank and Tarleton? If not, this statement could be construed to be, at best, misleading.

In order to help to make the proposal sustainable we request that you take on board our comments to further reduce the density of the site and to ensure that the policies and land designations within the adopted local plan are adhered to.

How can this be allowed to happen?

Persimmon masterplan overlayed with Coastal zone

Click for larger image (opens in a new window)

Last weekend some residents of Tarleton & Hesketh Bank received a copy of Persimmon’s latest plan to develop the brownfield site of Altys Brickworks and adjacent greenfield grazing land.

West Lancs Borough Council, in its Local Plan 2012 – 2027,  designated part of this site to be within its Coastal Zone.

The Council’s own policy on Coastal Zone states :

Development within the Borough’s Coastal Zones, as defined on the Policies Map, will be limited to that which is essential in meeting the needs of coastal navigation, amenity and informal recreation, tourism and leisure, flood protection, fisheries, nature conservation and / or agriculture.

(from Policy EN2: Preserving and Enhancing West Lancashire’s Natural Environment)

How then can this proposal be allowed to go ahead?

The problem here is that the planning department are fully aware of Persimmon’s intentions. Persimmon have previously published plans that include housing developments within the Coastal Zone. Why has WLBC Planning department not guided the developer to adhere to Council policy? The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) encourages a presumption in favour of sustainable development but surely this must comply with policies in the Local Plan.

At the time of posting Persimmon have not yet lodged a planning application for this proposal. Persimmon invite you to comment on their proposal, and while this is OK,  HBTAG recommend you take the time to comment on the planning application when it is lodged.

We’ll let you know when this happens and also provide helpful hints and tips on putting together a valid comment (there are pitfalls in this for the unwary!)

 

Removal of condition 30 – What does this mean?

Some residents in close proximity to the proposed development at Altys Brickworks and associated Green field received a letter last week dated 17th January from West Lancs Planning department proposing removal of condition 30 from the planning application. This proposal has its own application number (2016/0075/FUL) and documents relating to it may be viewed on the planning website. (click view associated documents)

The letter was brief and may have left many wondering what Condition 30 was and why was it proposed that it should be removed.

Condition 30 states:

No development on any phase (as set out in the phasing programme) shall take place until an Energy Statement has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority for that phase. The Statement shall detail the efficiency and sustainability measures that will be incorporated into the building design and construction. All dwellings shall, as a minimum, achieve the Code of Sustainable Homes Level 3 rising to Level 4 and Level 6 in line with the increases in Part L of the Building Regulations. No development on a phase shall be occupied until a letter of assurance detailing how the dwelling(s) have met the relevant Code Level has been issued by a DCLG approved certification body. Within 6 months of the occupation of the dwelling(s) a Final Certificate, certifying that the relevant Code for Sustainable Homes Level has been achieved shall be submitted to the Local Planning Authority.

So why remove this?

On the 27th March 2015 the Government withdrew the Code for Sustainable Homes and have consequently instructed local planning authorities not to set requirements relating to the construction, internal layout or performance of new dwellings, including any policy requiring any level of the Code for Sustainable Homes to be achieved.

Although this might initially give fears that developers are relieved of their responsibility to provide energy and water efficient homes, the Government is still committed to deliver a policy on zero carbon homes in later this year.

 

If you wish to comment on the proposal you can do so via the Council’s website:

  • Through the Council’s website Online Service – Planning Application Comments
    (enter  the new application number 2016/0075/FUL)
  • By email to plan.apps@westlancs.gov.uk
    (include full application reference number (2016/0075/FUL) and your full name and address)
  • By writing to:
    P.O. Box16, 52 Derby Street, Ormskirk. West Lancashire L39 2DF
    (include full application reference number (2016/0075/FUL) and your full name and address) 

    Comments must be received no later than 17th February 2016

 

Further reading:

Planning Update March 2015 (Speech by Eric Pickles MP – 25th March 2015)

http://blogs.deloitte.co.uk/realestate/2015/04/the-end-of-the-code-for-sustainable-homes-what-does-it-mean-for-you.html
Angela Payne – Senior Sustainability Consultant, Deloitte Real Estate

Response from Persimmon

Following an exchange of emails with Persimmon regarding the level of public consultation about the Alty Development, HBTAG have now received the following information in an email from the Planning and Strategic Manager of Persimmon Homes:-

“With regards to our proposals for the site, you may be aware that ecological surveys are ongoing and will continue until September. Whilst we were keen to develop the least ecologically sensitive part of the site (ie the southern parcel) as soon as possible, we are now of the view that a single reserved matters application for the whole of the residential element (both northern and southern parcels, including the linear park), is the best approach.”

In taking this decision we have been mindful of comments received from residents at our consultation event, and officers and Members at West Lancs Borough Council, who expressed concern that that the whole site may not be delivered. A single application for the whole of the residential element will provide greater clarity as to what form the overall development will take. The results of the ecological surveys will determine the extent of the site that can be developed, and the total number of homes that can be provided.

We will engage in further pre-application discussions with WLBC and public consultation ahead of submission of the reserved matters application.”

Were you invited?

Some of us were invited to a Charles Church (a lesser known part of Persimmon Homes) consultation event which was held on Tuesday 19th May at the Hesketh with Becconsall Village Community Centre. I say ‘invited’ since this came across clearly as an invitation only event. We are not aware of any public notices in the local press or elsewhere, we saw no signage outside of the Village Hall to give passers by any indication that the event was taking place.

Please let us know if you received one of their prestigious invites so we can map the range of the leaflet drop.

If you were not invited or missed the event but wish to comment on Persimmon’s proposal to build 66 houses on the Greenfield site next to Alty’s Brickworks, you can download a copy of their public consultation comment form.

(You will notice that no expense was spared as Persimmon were happy to use forms with an obvious error merely crossed out and that Persimmon have used their lesser known Charles Church branding on the form)

As it was, if you did miss the event, you missed very little. Those who attended Persimmon’s previous consultation exercises two years ago, held in both Hesketh Bank and Tarleton and Tuesday’s event, will have noticed how ‘low key’ this event was in comparison.

Despite strong opposition from local residents and a perceived ignoring of the requirement within the recently adopted Local Plan to conduct Masterplanning, Persimmon finally gained approval on 30th April this year for their outline application to build on precious Greenfield and the Brownfield land of the old Brickwork site. The change from a hybrid to an outline application in June 2014 saw the reversal of phasing from Brownfield development first to Greenfield first. This select event unveiled a plan to build 66 houses on the Greenfield site, half of which is within the Coastal Zone. West Lancashire Borough Council’s own policy forbids building within the Coastal Zone yet for some reason, this policy is not being followed.

If you do feel strongly enough about the over-development of our villages to download and complete one of Persimmon’s consultation comment forms, please be polite and constructive in your comments. Persimmon are one of our nation’s largest house builders and, like all commercial organisations, are required to make a profit for their shareholders. However, we believe development should also benefit existing and future residents of the villages. This can be achieved.  Please focus your comments on how the development might impact on our villages, our congested roads, our already stretched services and our often failing infrastructure.

 

Persimmon to hold another Public consultation over the Altys Brickworks development

On Monday evening 11th May, Hesketh with Becconsall Parish Council held its annual general meeting.

During the meeting, Mr Cropper (Clerk) stated that Persimmon were planning to hold a public consultation at the Village Community Centre, Station Road, Hesketh Bank between 4 – 8pm on Tuesday 19th May. This on the basis that the developers have now agreed in principle, the layout of the northern end of the development. We assume he meant to say the Southern end as this (the greenfield) became phase 1 in the Outline application which was approved by the planning committee in December 2014 This follows the recent posting of the decision notice by the planning department of WLBC for Persimmon’s outline application to build on Altys land at Tarleton and Hesketh Bank.

During the meeting, Mr Cropper notified the councillors that, since he had a financial interest in Persimmon, he would remove himself from meetings between Altys, the developers and the planners but would continue with duties as the Council’s Clerk in negotiations.

The Parish Council later moved to disband their planning committee. This having had no reason to sit over the past two years despite the many large and smaller developments that are proposed for the villages of Tarleton & Hesketh Bank.

Those present at the WLBC Planning meeting of 13/11/14 will remember Councillor Pope’s warning that failure to engage to a greater extent than they had previously may lead to detailed applications being refused in the future.

With less than a week to go before the meeting, we have not seen any public notices inviting attendance. We urge anyone planning to attend the meeting to make sure they record any concerns they may have at the meeting and not to respond only to the questions posed by the developers.

For those unfamiliar with this proposed Altys/Persimmon development, the plan is to build around 270 dwellings across adjoining greenfield land in Tarleton and brownfield land on the site of Alty’s old Brickworks in Hesketh Bank. The planned phasing has been reversed. Persimmon now plan to build on the green field first, half of which is within the Coastal Zone (protected against development by West Lancs Borough Council’s policies EN2.5 & EN9.24) with building on the brownfield to follow.

This application has caused a great deal of local concern in the two years it has been running as residents fear the high peak traffic volumes on Hesketh Lane will increase, local services will be further stretched, a greater burden added to the already failing drainage and sewer systems, not to mention low water pressures.

 

It’s Just a Lane

Most residents of Hesketh Bank and Tarleton rely on Hesketh Lane as their main route to and from work or for access to shops and other services.

It is well known locally that progress along Hesketh Lane can, at times, be slowed to a snail’s pace at school drop off and pick up times and when people head to and return from their workplaces outside of the villages. Recently, traffic lights have imposed additional hold-ups as essential upgrades and maintenance work is carried out.

One of the main concerns local residents expressed over the proposed development at the Altys Brickworks site is the belief that Hesketh Lane can not cope with the extra traffic that 270+ new dwellings would bring.

HBTAG members conducted traffic surveys on Hesketh Lane and Station Road over a two week period in June 2013 and, apart from the high traffic volumes noted, were staggered to discover how many vehicles are using Kearsley Avenue as a rat run to avoid delays at the top of Hesketh Lane. This was acknowledged by the Highways department of Lancashire County Council [1]

Kearsley Avenue is a quiet 20mph residential road, many residents have young families and pets and the burden of the rat run traffic is very unfair on them.

Shortly after the Planning committee approved the Persimmon Outline planning application, the Green Lane Link was kicked into the long grass, being postponed until 2020 at the earliest. As part of the application process, the Green Lane Link was cited as mitigation for the additional traffic the housing development would inevitably bring.

Persimmon commissioned a report to put forward the case that Hesketh Lane would not be adversely affected by their proposed development. On 14th January 2014, David Watson (LCC Highways) wrote to John Harrison (Assistant Director Planning WLBC) highlighting several errors and omissions in the report by SCP, understating the likely impact of the proposed development. Mr Watson was emphatic about the failure failure to acknowledge the Kearsley Avenue rat run [2]

“However, no reference to, or consideration taken, for the Kearsley Avenue/Carr Lane rat run!”

[1] Email 12/02/14 from David Watson (LCC Highways) to Peter Todd (Principal Transport Planner SCP)

[2] Email 14/01/14 from David Watson (LCC Highways) to John Harrison (Assistant Director Planning WLBC)

 

WE THINK HESKETH LANE HAS REACHED SATURATION POINT IN RESPECT OF TRAFFIC VOLUMES AND ROAD SAFETY.

 

If you have a view on the traffic issues of Hesketh Lane or the use of Kearsley Avenue as a rat run, please let us know.

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