Strategic land planners pushing for a major housing development on the outskirts of Longridge faced another setback this week, after their second plan for the site failed to meet the approval of Preston City Council.
But it will be the Planning Inspectorate which makes the final decision, as the company behind the proposals has appealed after the city council failed to make a decision on the application within the required timescale.
City councillors went against the advice of their own officers at Monday’s planning meeting by making the decision that they would have refused Cheshire-based Fox Strategic Land and Property’s plans for 200 new homes, office space, a fitness facility and swimming pool plus public open space on land to the north of Whittingham Road, comprising the former Riding’s depot and land to the north and west of the depot, and residential apartments with care on land to the south of Whittingham Road and east of Green Nook Lane.
Fox’s first plan for the site was thrown out by the council last year, again against the advice of city officers, and the company’s subsequent appeal to the Planning Inspectorate was dismissed after a public inquiry in August 2012.
Meanwhile, the company had submitted their second plan, and after Preston Council’s failure to deal with it within the required timescale, appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, this time on the grounds of non determination by the council within 13 weeks.
The second appeal will be dealt with at a public inquiry scheduled for early 2014 and the comments made by Preston Council on Monday will be submitted within a report as those they would have reached had an appeal not been lodged.
Preston and Whittingham councillor Lona Smith, who appealed to councillors on Monday to refuse the plans, said she was delighted with the decision.
She said: “I am absolutely thrilled to bits. The majority of the planning committee voted to refuse it. Very few of the committee recommended it for approval.”