RESUBMITTED plans for an 80-home development in Chequer Lane were approved on the chairman’s vote last week at a dramatic Planning Committee meeting.
Following the decision, campaigners against the plans claimed the reasoning behind the decision was “flawed” and vowed to carry on the fight.
With a previous outline application from Wainhomes having been rejected on the grounds of prematurity, the developer put plans in again now the emerging Local Plan has reached the publication stage.
During the meeting councillors questioned whether the application was new or a resubmission, with new objections raised by Lancashire County Council about the fact the site has a proven mineral resource – though planning officers said that the county council had accepted that as the current landowner would not sell the land for mineral extraction it was unlikely an objection on these grounds could be sustained.
Cllr Roger Bell put forward a motion for rejection on the grounds that access creates road safety problems, despite the lack of objection from the county council’s highways authority, and that land safeguarded for mineral use should not be jeopardised.
He said: “Having almost been driven off the road myself I do not feel it is safe. We reserve the right to say we disagree. I think it’s reasonable grounds that will withstand an appeal. The new information is about mineral rights and I think it’s also a strong reason for refusal.”
But with planning officers advising it would be difficult to defend at an appeal, it went to a recorded vote, which was tied at 11 each – and so went to committee chairman Cllr Edward Pope for the deciding vote.
He voted against the motion, and another was then voted on for approval – on the condition that specific transport obligations would be further discussed with Lancashire County Council – after Cllr David Westley had stated he no longer felt grounds for prematurity still stood. Again, the vote was split, and Cllr Pope this time voted in favour of the motion.
Following the meeting, campaigner Allison McIntosh said: “We feel we weren’t listened to. “The idea that prematurity is no longer a reason when the Local Plan is still to be looked at by a planning inspector is flawed.
“What happens if he throws it out? We will be taking it further as we feel there have been serious process errors and our voice hasn’t been heard. We have all worked so hard and have been totally ignored.”
Wainhomes did not wish to comment.