Please don’t destroy our village!
That’s the plea from Warton Parish Council ahead of a public inquiry into two planning applications which if they go ahead would bring some 500 new homes.
Members of Bryning with Warton Parish Council are already concerned at what they feel is the over-development of the village. They feel those extra homes –375 on a site to the east of the village and 115 at Clifton House Farm to the west – would, on top of almost 800 recently approved, be a step too far in light of the current village infrastructure.
They intend to tell the planning inspector: “Enough is enough!” – and are calling for as many residents as possible to add their voices to the plea.
Parish councillor Mike Wright said: “The Parish Council and residents have always made it clear that we welcome some development but this public inquiry will determine if the village will almost double in size, with the cumulative and detrimental impact on traffic, air pollution and services.
“We think this scale of increase for a village in England is unprecedented.
“Already, nearly 800 new houses have been approved for Warton – a further 500 will mean a total increase of around 1,300 houses, almost doubling the size of the village, with hardly any additional services or amenities and little improvement to roads.
“Lancashire County Council Highways have withdrawn their objection to these two appeals on the grounds that three critical highway improvement schemes are planned - but there is no certainty these will be implemented before 2021, “One of the other highways schemes - to widen the main junction of Lytham Road and Church Road to cater for the predicted large increase in traffic – is now estimated to cost more than £1m which suggests 12 months or more of major roadworks and severe disruption for all traffic going through Warton.
“Air pollution is another of our major concerns given that Warton has been highlighted by the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as having higher than average levels of nitrogen dioxide - and that’s before up to 1,300 new homes are built, with, we would estimate, up to 2,000 additional cars, plus and the growth of Warton’s Enterprise Zone, with up to 1,200 jobs.
“All of the approved, almost 800, new homes, those proposed - almost 500 - and the enterprise zone site are within a one-mile radius of the village centre’s two primary schools and two nursery schools.
“We need to demonstrate to the planning inspector that this scale of development is not sustainable and would lead to unacceptable levels of traffic.
“The Parish Council and residents will be making their case to the planning inspector at the public inquiry and we can only hope that common sense prevails.”
The Parish Council claims its concerns have been compounded by the fact that it submitted a Neighbourhood Plan to Fylde Council in September 2014 but is still waiting for it to be approved and put to referendum.
Parish councillor Wright added: “Fylde Council originally proposed 1,160 houses for Warton, almost doubling the size of our village, which opened us up to developers.
“After a hard-fought battle, that number was reduced by Fylde to 650 in July 2014 but since then 778 new homes have been approved. We are anxious for the Neighbourhood Plan to be implemented as soon as possible.”
A spokesman for Fylde Council said that the inquiry was being held following appeals by the applicants – Warton East Developments for the 375-homes application and Hallam Land Management for the Clifton House site – because of ‘failure to determine’ by Fylde planners.
The larger application is understood to have been with the council for consideration for some two years and the other for more than a year and the spokesman said: “The council is not against the developments in principle but the fact they haven’t been determined so far has been down to concerns over over-capacity of current road network and some ecology concerns.”
The spokesman added that the Bryning with Warton Neighbourhood Plan was still being processed following some alterations after consideration by an independent examiner.
The inquiry is at Warton Village Hall and is due to start on Tuesday, July 12 at 10am and is scheduled to run up to 7pm that day, 9am to 7pm on the following two days and 9am to 2pm on the Friday.
It will then resume on Tuesday, July 19 from 9am to 7pm, with the following day reserved for closing submissions and possible site visits and Thursday, July 21 a reserve day.
Anyone is welcome to attend and Parish councillor Wright added: “We hope as many people as possible will make their voices heard. Anyone has the option to speak at the inquiry to give their views but they must attend on the first day at 10am on 12th July to register their intention.”