Tuesday, 14 January 2020
Victory for residents as council wins planning appeal and saves land from development
SOUTH Ribble Borough Council has hailed an ‘enormous victory for residents’ following its successful defence of a Planning Committee decision to refuse planning permission for 100 homes.
The Wainhomes planning application to build new homes on land at Chain House Lane in Whitestake, a small village near New Longton, was refused in June 2019 because the application site is allocated as safeguarded land through Policy G3 of the current South Ribble Local Plan (adopted July 2015).
In addition, the proposal – due to its nature, scale and permanency – was deemed unnecessary because the council can demonstrate that it has a five-year supply of deliverable housing land elsewhere in the borough.
An independent Planning Appeal led by a government Planning Inspector ruled in favour of South Ribble Borough Council when it announced its decision on 13 December 2019.
It agreed with the council’s original decision to refuse planning permission, and the appeal was dismissed, much to the delight of residents local to Chain House Lane, many of whom had voiced strong objections to the planning application earlier in the year.
The public inquiry – which took place from 12 to 15 November 2019 – set out to establish whether the council could demonstrate that it had a five-year supply of deliverable housing land and whether the proposed development would prejudice the council’s ability to manage the comprehensive development of the wider site within which the appeal site is located.
The inquiry was set up following an appeal from national housebuilder, Wainhomes.
In dismissing the appeal, the Planning Inspector concluded that the council was able to demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing land.
She further stated that the proposals were contrary to Policy G3 of the current South Ribble Local Plan (adopted July 2015). Policy G3 states that permission will not be granted for development which would prejudice potential longer-term, comprehensive development of the land. It safeguards land for future development in order to meet longer-term development needs and thus protects Green Belt boundaries.
Councillor Caleb Tomlinson, Chair of the council’s Planning Committee, said: “This is an enormous victory for residents and the council’s planning officers.
“We were confident all along that our original decision was the right one, because our officers prepare their reports so diligently with immense levels of detail, experience and expertise.
“The Planning Inspectorate’s decision will be a significant one for South Ribble Borough Council and neighbouring councils, and we are very pleased to have shown throughout this process that we have observed the relevant planning laws and guidance every step of the way and, in doing so, we arrived at the correct conclusion, which was refusal.
“I would like to thank all the officers and elected members who are part of the planning service delivered by the council. This is a superb win for us and the local people who shared our view that 100 new homes at this site was not appropriate or prudent.”
Councillor Bill Evans, Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration and City Deal at South Ribble Borough Council, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the council has won the appeal.
“I am delighted chiefly for the residents whose strong opposition to the planning application in the spring and summer of 2019 – and later, at the Planning Appeal – has meant that the deliberations remained thorough, thoughtful and considerate throughout.
“The issues raised by these residents were carefully considered by the Planning Inspector, and I congratulate them for presenting their views in such a measured, convincing manner.
“The decision to dismiss Wainhomes’ appeal is the right one for the people of Whitestake and Chain House Lane.
“We continue to have complete faith in the decision-making of the council’s Planning Committee, and we are proud to say that all applications that come into our inbox are judged to the highest professional standard.
“It is reassuring to know that the policies contained in the current South Ribble Local Plan (which was adopted in July 2015) continue to protect the borough against unplanned development and continue to ensure that development in the borough is brought forward in the right places.
“The Local Plan is currently being reviewed and everyone is welcome to respond to the current consultation which lasts until Friday 14 February 2020.
“The documents can be viewed online at www.centrallocalplan.lancashire.gov.uk or in any South Ribble library.”
Drop-in events are taking place in Preston, Chorley and South Ribble throughout January and February 2020.
More details can be found at https://centrallocalplan.lancashire.gov.uk/consultations/issues-and-options-drop-in-calendar/.
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