Feb 14 2013 by Rob Pattinson, Ormskirk Advertiser
CONTROVERSIAL plans for 51 new homes in Rufford were approved by the council’s planning committee.
A total of 77 letters objecting to the scheme were submitted ahead of last Thursday’s meeting to consider R&J Pickavance’s application for a development on land off New Road.
The greenfield site was formerly worked as agricultural land and currently houses a row of greenhouses and former polytunnels, and is bound by Green Belt land to the south.
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The application included plans for 30% affordable housing and council officers had recommended it be passed as it would cause “no significant harm” to the character of the area or adjacent conservation area.
Barry Cook, from Rufford Against Inappropriate Development, spoke at the meeting of his concerns that the development would make the village less sustainable and put pressure on over-subscribed schools, as well as concerns over the discharge of untreated sewage. But Paul Sedgwick, on behalf of the agent, said the plan “ticked all the boxes” and there were no issues raised by United Utilities, educational bodies, county council high ways or anyone else qualified to comment.
He said: “This is an ideal site for bringing forward for housing. There’s a need for affordable and market housing in the borough and this can deliver both.”
Cllr Jane Houlgrave said she was not against sustainable development at the site but had concerns over highway safety on New Road and the greater flood risk of run-off water running into Rufford boundary sluice.
But council officer Cath Thomas said the county’s highways department had assessed the site and did not believe it would create further issues, while both United Utilities and the Environment Agency were satisfied there were no drainage reasons to justify refusing the application. The plans were approved 19 votes to three with two abstentions.