Posted by: westlancashirerecord | June 6, 2018

Developers Lose Appeal To Build On Safeguarded Meadowbrook Land

Developers have lost their appeal to build on land to the North of Meadowbrook  in Burscough after failing in their attempt to overturn a decision of West Lancashire Borough Council’s Planning Committee and West Lancashire Labour will be claiming another huge victory as protectors of the greenbelt.

Despite considerable protest from Burscough residents, the land was taken out of the greenbelt by the previous Conservative administration when it approved the current Local Plan, which runs from 2012 to 2027. As with the similar legal battle fought by WLBC recently, over land at Parrs Lane in Aughton, the developers had tried to suggest that the safeguarded land should be brought forward, in this case because of a lack of affordable housing. They put forward an application that failed to meet any of the Masterplan requirements for the area, which are designed to ensure that housing developments address local issues, such as traffic congestion, or support other developments in the area, in this case the proposed West Lancashire linear parks.

In this case, the planning application had not been able to demonstrate that it would contribute to the creation of the Town Park or Linear Park, the funding of which is specifically excluded from the Council’s CiL Regulation 123 list. Nor could it show how the intended pedestrian and cycle paths within the site would link into a comprehensive pedestrian and cycle network within which all routes are “safe, attractive, direct and convenient.”

Furthermore, the proposal made no contribution to the provision of an East-West road link which might help to reduce congestion on the A59, or of any local retail or community facilities to serve the larger development. Cllr John Hodson  Portfolio Holder for Planning, said “This is a fantastic result for local democracy and residents of West Lancashire, particularly those in Burscough. When West Lancashire Labour took control of the council, we said that we would support residents by insisting that commitments outlined under the Masterplanning expertise be honoured.

“Despite repeated attempts by the developers to push ahead with building on this land without any indication of providing those commitments, we have now succeeded in stopping this premature and incomplete planning application.

“This result helps protect the integrity of the current Local Plan and enables us to work on the next plan without fear of further challenges from the developers. It was another excellent decision by the Labour administration to fight the appeal, given the possible outcome, but one we felt was necessary to protect the Local Plan and ensure that residents’ views were clearly heard.

“I would like to congratulate the officers of the council, who prepared such a robust defence in the face of well-resourced and determined developers looking to circumvent the existing Local Plan. I would also like to thank our legal representatives, my fellow Labour Councillors, and the local residents who provided evidence. We are delighted that their views have been acknowledged and supported in the outcome of the appeal”.

We might also add that Bloor Homes claimed, about concerns over the loss of agricultural land “It is considered that the need for homes within West Lancashire is so great that the benefits to be provided by the proposed development towards the housing stock, far outweigh the loss of a small parcel of agricultural land”. Perhaps the truth is that too many “small parcels of agricultural land” might produce vast profits for arrogant developers? 

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