It’s reported that West Lancashire Borough Council has given its own housing developer permission to build 44 homes despite opposition from existing residents. Council-owned Tawd Valley Developments can now press ahead with plans to erect 36 houses and eight flats across two sites in Skelmersdale.
After permission was formally granted this week, two separate applications will see 27 semi-detached properties built on land off Northfield and nine houses and a block of eight flats at Brierfield, Digmoor.
Both applications were provisionally approved by the council’s planning committee at public meetings in April and have now been ratified by Heidi McDougall, Corporate Director of Place & Community. Dozens of objections were received against the Northfield plan as well as a petition signed by 145 people.
Among the various reasons cited were the loss of green space and impact on wildlife; the amount of other homes being developed nearby; the limited parking for existing residents being further reduced; potential to create more flooding problems; and the lack of services such as schools and GP surgeries.
Although less objections were raised to the Brierfield application, concerns were also raised over the loss of green space, reduction in parking spaces and impact on living standards for existing residents.
Council officers concluded the developments were acceptable and would have no detrimental impact on each area or neighbouring properties. Work has been ongoing for several months to clear and prepare the land for housing and there is now nothing halting the full development.
Tawd Valley Developments Ltd was formed in 2019 to build 340 homes over five years and the council says it having its own development firm will give greater control over the types of properties being built as well as enabling profits to be ploughed back into services hit by government cuts.
Of major interest are the conditions laid down for the United Utilities’ Property, Assets and Infrastructure as stated “A large trunk main crosses the site. As we need unrestricted access for operating and maintaining it, we will not permit development over or in close proximity to the main. We require an access strip as detailed in our ‘Standard Conditions for Works Adjacent to Pipelines’, a copy of which is enclosed.
“The applicant should be instructed to lay their own private pipe, to United Utilities standards, back to the existing main. If this should involve passing through third party land United Utilities must receive a solicitor’s letter confirming an easement, prior to connection.
“A public sewer crosses this site and we may not permit building over it. We will require an access strip width of six metres, three metres either side of the centre line of the sewer which is in accordance with the minimum distances specified in the current issue of “Sewers for Adoption”, for maintenance or replacement.
“Therefore a modification of the site layout, or a diversion of the affected public sewer at the applicant’s expense, may be necessary. To establish if a sewer diversion is feasible, the applicant must discuss this at an early stage with our Developer Engineer at firstname.lastname@example.org as a lengthy lead in period may be required if a sewer diversion proves to be acceptable. Deep rooted shrubs and trees should not be planted in the vicinity of the public sewer and overflow systems. Where United Utilities’ assets exist, the level of cover to the water mains and public sewers must not be compromised either during or after construction”.