A rallying call to residents of two parishes to renew the fight against a controversial housing development, three quarters of whichwould be affordable, was answered when more than 250 people packed themselves into a village church.
If residents of Goosnargh and Whittingham were not already aware, the meeting’s organisers informed the gathering at St Mary’s Church that Preston’s planning officers were asking the city’s planning committee to approve the application for 93 new homes on agricultural land north of Goosnargh Lane, at the back of Holme Fell, subject to a 106 agreement and conditions, submitted by companies Seddon and Contour.
Originally deferred by the planning committee until the county council had assessed further drainage information, campaigners had been informed LCC would not be raising objections when it now goes before the committee on September 7.
A spokesperson for the group said: “There was a sense of disbelief and dismay the director of planning was minded to approve an application which his own report to council members stated went against its own Adopted Local Plan and key policies and which, if approved would urbanise the centre of the village which the city council has worked so well previously to protect for future generations.
“The residents stressed they were not against the principle of affordable homes; however the scale of the development far exceeded the identified local need of just eight such homes which is swamped by the 72 affordable homes already granted planning consent on the brownfield Whittingham Hospital site already under construction and which will double the size of the village.
“The proposed new site, situated in open countryside beyond the village boundary, regularly floods together with adjacent land and the proposed access road onto Goosnargh Lane will become a safety bottleneck during school, church and popular village green times.”
More than 300 people have signed a petition against the development and residents will be attending the planning meeting determined to persuade councillors the site is unsustainable for this number of homes which, has no adequate road, public transport, jobs or other community services available locally.
The statement added: “The residents’ group hopes and believes that once planning committee councillors take into account the scale of development already taking place on the Whittingham Hospital site, together with the unsustainable nature of the new greenfield site and the irrevocable damage to the rural nature of Goosnargh village, they will refuse the application.”