Residents opposed to a large housing development on Grimsargh’s boundary are celebrating this week after an appeal was rejected by the Planning Inspectorate.
Parish council chairman Eileen Murray said the opponents were “absolutely delighted with the news” that Sheffield-based Hallam Land Management’s appeal against Preston Council’s refusal of plans for 143 homes on land north of The Hills had finally failed.
She said: “For more than two years now Grimsargh Council and residents of the village have been battling against this development, filling the village hall to capacity for the initial meeting in January, 2011.”
She said that, through the “Sites for Preston” and Central Lancashire Core Strategy consultations, Grimsargh had engaged with Preston’s planning officials, giving significant input into the policies and site allocations as they developed.
Then, when Hallam’s plans were submitted, she said another meeting with officials saw “more animated debate and discussion on how best to respond to the application”.
Then, when the city council threw out the development proposals, she recalled everyone cheering – “as witnessed in the article in the Longridge News in April last year”.
But the battle was far from over and she said opponents’ hearts sank when Hallam launched the appeal.
However, by this time the Central Lancashire Core Strategy had been adopted and Policy 19 on the “areas of separation” seemed to give a clear indication the land Hallam wanted to build on was now defined as an essential part of the remaining open countryside and should be retained to give a clear space between the village and Preston.
“To us and to other residents, the case seemed clear cut, but there were issues over the ‘Site Allocations’ document which defines the borders of the ‘areas of separation’ not being finalised.
“Surely, we thought, it is obvious that a development that would take up the majority of the narrowest section of land between us and Preston had to be against the core strategy?
“It was difficult for those of us who attended the appeal hearing to witness the Hallam barrister tearing into the policies and city council submission documents, appearing to gouge holes in them.
“We did rationalise the inspector would be very used to seeing that and hoped that good sense and logic would prevail.
And it did – the announcement came through last Friday that the appeal was dismissed and Grimsargh residents can relax now.”
She added: “In this case the planning system has worked well. Everyone involved - the parish council, planning officers and residents - have all worked hard together and achieved this excellent result and we should congratulate ourselves.
“As Hallam are known for being particularly expert in getting developments through the complexities of the planning system – and they have lost on this site – hopefully any other developers watching on the side lines will recognise policy 19 is robust and this area of land is well secured as open countryside for the foreseeable future.”
Inspector Isobel McCretton said: “Although the proposal would secure the provision of housing, together with a range of other benefits, I consider that the harm to the Core Strategy policy objective of maintaining an “Area of Separation” between Grimsargh and Preston would be harmed and that this is the overriding consideration in this case.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Longridge
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 6 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 29 mph
Wind direction: North east