Jan 10 2013 by Rob Pattinson, Ormskirk Advertiser
CONTROVERSIAL plans for 115 new homes in Banks are set to be given the green light after council planners were advised not to defend a landmark appeal.
Redrow Homes applied to West Lancs council for permission to build homes in a site off Guinea Hall Lane on August 3.
The proposals had been due to go before the council’s planning committee, but the authority failed to consider it within a 13-week time limit – allowing Redrow to capitalise on a legal loophole and take the application straight to appeal.
Now, despite the proposals being against both existing and emerging Local Plan policy, a report by borough planner John Harrison is set to go before the planning committee tonight, advising the council not to defend the appeal.
In the council’s emerging Local Plan document – set to be examined by the planning inspectorate over the next few months – the site is earmarked to be safeguarded from development until after 2027.
But, in the report, Mr Harrison stated that, because the application was received in the run-up to the emerging Local Plan’s formal examination, the council was left in the “difficult position where the existing policy is undermined by the NPPF [National Planning Policy Framework] and recent appeal decisions”.
He said that, while the emerging policies remain untested, it is unlikely that they will be given significant weight – and added that because “little demonstrable harm” can be identified if the development goes ahead, the case is “significantly weighted in favour of the development under the current appeal regime”.
He recommended requesting several conditions be applied, should permission be granted, including 30% affordable housing being provided.
North Meols Parish Council objected to the scheme on the grounds it was not the right site at the current time, there were other areas of higher priority for development, and poor infrastructure. Lancashire County Council raised concerns over traffic impact and a proposed new junction.
And six letters from nearby residents raised concerns over the lack of demand for more housing in the area, drainage issues, pollution and loss of trees.