Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 21, 2016

Labour Council Looks To Fight Parrs Lane Decision

newsroomwlrLabour led West Lancashire Borough Council is set to make a legal challenge against the decision by the Planning Inspector to allow developer Wainhomes to build up to 150 houses on land at Parrs Lane in Aughton.

Last month, the Planning Inspector overturned the council’s original decision to refuse planning approval on the site which is listed in the Local Plan as being suitable for future development. The Local Plan, which was approved by the previous Conservative administration, lists a number of sites that may be used to meet the targets set by national government for house building.

However, Labour Councillors believe that the Planning Inspector failed to take into account all of the available sites in the borough. This included one site on which building work has already begun, and two others that the Planning Inspector omitted to include.

Councillor John Hodson johnhod the portfolio holder for Planning said “The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which was introduced under the Conservative-led government in 2012, has seriously undermined the powers of local government to tackle planning issues, particularly in relation to house building.

“We feel it is our moral duty to defend the adopted Local Plan in order to protect the interests of residents in West Lancashire, and that of future Local Plans. Unfortunately, members of the public, particularly those in the Aughton area, have been misled by the Conservative councillors who told them that this land was ‘safeguarded’ against development.

“In actual fact, the NPPF states that local planning authorities should “identify in their plans areas of ‘safeguarded land’ between the urban area and the Green Belt, in order to meet longer-term development needs stretching well beyond the plan period.” In this context, land is safeguarded for development, not against it, which is why the developer wain believed they could appeal to bring their plans forward.

“Whether the Conservative councillors concerned did this deliberately or because they failed to understand the implications of the regulations is something for residents to decide. As a council, we will do everything in our power to ensure that residents’ concerns are taken into account in such matters, so that future building plans benefit all of us in West Lancashire and not just the developers.

“To help us in this, we are now working to set up a development company, which will enable us to manage future house building across the borough much more effectively. Hopefully, this will also allow us to restrict the use of loopholes in the planning regulations which give developers leave to appeal against the direct wishes of residents”.

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