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Council condemns Government for overturning a two-time rejection of 1000s of homes in rural Penwortham

In November, it was announced that Taylor Wimpey and Homes England's two-time rejected application to build new homes on the Pickering's Farm site in Penwortham was overturned by Government following the result of a Public Inquiry undertaken by the Planning Inspectorate.

After seeking legal advice on the possibility of an appeal, South Ribble Borough Council Leader, Councillor Paul Foster has slammed the Government for their disconnect with the area and not recognising local needs and the concerns of residents.

The initial application, for the housing developer to build circa 1000 homes in the area with an additional local centre comprising a school and other community and employment areas, was rejected by South Ribble Borough Council's Planning Committee in 2020 and 2021, the main grounds for refusal being the impact the development will have on the adjoining road network.

The local Planning Committee concluded the anticipated high traffic levels as a result of the development would add more pressures to an already strained road network, increase air pollution and compromise highway safety - specifically for pedestrians and cyclists.

The final decision to permit the development has been made by the Secretary of State.

Councillor Foster said, "I cannot find the words to describe how bitterly upset I feel that the Inspector has allowed the appeal and has permitted 1000s of properties to be built in a rural community..   

"Your locally elected councillors refused this application twice, and yet a bureaucrat based in Bristol can spend a few days here, overturn a decision, and cause utter chaos for generations. 

"The Government and Inspector don't believe the impact on the highways network is severe enough to refuse the application. They should spend a few more days with us and experience the conditions our community already faces, congestion all around Penwortham and across the west coast main line and within Lostock Hall.  

"They just haven't got a clue what they have just done. Nor do they appear to care."

Representations against the application were received by residents and stakeholders following consultation periods across the two applications considered by the Planning Committee.

Councillor Foster continued, "This decision has let the democratic process down, with the Government causing unprecedented impacts to our community for generations. 

"We have thoroughly investigated the possibility of us challenging the decision through the courts but having taken advice from multiple barristers, it is not possible.

"Unfortunately, the way in which the planning system set up by the Government works means that local decisions to protect local communities can be overridden and ignored."


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