Jan 13 2012 By Rob Pattinson
PLANS by Edge Hill University to expand its sports facilities and create 384 units of on-campus student accommodation were approved by West Lancs council last night.
The university had applied to build a new sports and recreation complex, which includes the erection of a sports building and outdoor sports facilities, pitches and games courts.
The accommodation proposal comprised six three-storey blocks.
Councillors expressed sympathy with residents, who spoke out at the meeting of concerns over noise, lighting, traffic and the impact on Green Belt land.
But after three hours of discussion, both applications were eventually voted through by councillors on the planning committee, who decided the benefits for the area outweighed the harm.
The sports facilities application was granted subject to not being called in by the secretary of state.
It is also subject to a string of conditions laid out in the officer’s report, to which councillors added the stipulation that pitch flood lights should be turned off automatically at the end of agreed operational hours.
The decision to grant the student accommodation plans was delegated to the borough planner subject to not being called in and a legal agreement being entered into by the council and university.
Council leader Cllr Ian Grant said: “I think this is difficult, it’s a subjective and balancing matter – what is the greater good for West Lancashire? What the residents say is not wrong. But in the end I believe the advantages and economic benefits outweigh the reasons for refusal.”
For reaction to the decision see next Thursday’s Advertiser.