Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 27, 2016

Official Labour Response To Parrs Lane Inquiry Decision

Following a meeting of the full council, members of West Lancashire Borough Council wlbclogo have voted to make a legal challenge against the decision by the Planning Inspector to allow developer Wainhomes to build up to 150 houses on land near Parrs Lane in Aughton.

In August, 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 housebuilding. However, WLBC believes 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 “This motion was about local democracy, pure and simple. Since the Conservative-led coalition Government pushed through the NPPF in 2012 there has been a clear indication of the direction of travel in favour of big business and developers, in regard to how the government intends to address the housing situation we face.

“The Housing industry is a classic example of what can go horribly wrong when the largest players in the field hold an inordinate amount of influence on Government in order to push through their agenda of market optimisation regardless of the actual societal need for housing supply.

Pure market-led thinking, true laissez–faire dictates that the optimum profit obtainable can be achieved by the exploitation of prime green field sites; market-led Planning rather than Planning-led Planning. The truly disturbing truth is the degree of influence that the big developers have had and continue to have on government Planning Policy with the ongoing erosion of the Borough Council’s ability to control housing supply according to the wishes and needs of the people they represent.

“West Lancashire Labour Councillors did not support the adoption of this Local Plan but since taking control have acted responsibly in acknowledging that in the eyes of Planning Law, it is for better or worse, now our Local Plan.

“Therefore it falls to the ruling Labour Administration to acknowledge that it is our moral duty, in the full knowledge that the Planning Inspector has erred in his calculation of the 5 year Housing Land Supply, to defend not only the residents of Aughton but all of the residents of West Lancashire who are themselves required to abide by the Adopted Local Plan whilst the developers seek to exploit the loophole created by the provision of Paragraph 49 of the NPPF thus undermining that very same Local Plan for commercial gain. We must allow the people of West Lancashire to have some say in the future strategic direction of the Borough in terms of Housing and Employment needs, which the Conservative Councillors of Aughton westuna were happy to ignore.

“Therefore it is of utmost importance that with the caveats contained within the Cabinet decision to proceed with the Section 288 Legal Challenge in the interests of the residents of West Lancashire.”

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