Tag: WLBC Planners

Will Local Plan Policies be upheld?

It appears that Planning officers may have allowed the developer to believe that Local Plan Policies may be set aside in the pursuit of residential development.

This application emerged shortly after the Local Plan 2012–2027 was adopted in 2013, yet officers appear unable to defend Plan policies in the face of the developer’s demands. The developer seems to be under the impression that the policy on Coastal Zone is flexible and, so long as the Marine Management Organisation has no objection, residential development is permissible.

Development within land designated as Coastal Zone is prohibited unless it meets very limited criteria, which this application fails to do. In addition, by failing to secure employment use for the site the application fails to meet Local Plan Policy EC3.

Reasons for refusal of the Reserved Matters application on 13th January 2017 have still not been adequately addressed, neither have the serious concerns of LCC Highways. If a proper Masterplanning exercise had been undertaken, as mandated by the Local Plan, the Rural Development Opportunity at Hesketh Bank may well, by now, have been delivered bringing the required mix of Housing, Employment, Recreational use and Linear Park without the need to invade Coastal Zone against Plan Policy EN2.5 thereby achieving the aims of Policy EC3

Unless there are major changes to this application, prior to resubmission, it should again be refused. WLBC should then undertake the required Masterplanning exercise to deliver a plan that meets the requirements of the RDO within the limits of Plan Policies and respects the wishes of existing residents and other stakeholders.

Developer led plans inevitably focus on benefits for the developer. Masterplanning seeks to address a wider remit for the whole community.

A Council led Masterplan would ensure all elements were fairly addressed, not only the residential build.

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

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!)