Landslide ‘no’ to new homes bid for village

Fylde by Air February 2005. / aerial view 'Warton, with Harbour Lane running diagonally across pic. PIC BY ROB LOCK
Fylde by Air February 2005. / aerial view 'Warton, with Harbour Lane running diagonally across pic. PIC BY ROB LOCK

More than 700 Warton residents overwhelmingly voted against plans to build new homes in the village following a strong turn-out in a parish poll.

A resounding 98 per cent of voters rallied against plans to increase the village by 75 per cent under the Local Plan, which recommends key sites in Fylde for housing, commercial or mixed use development.

Out of the 726 votes cast, just 14 backed plans for several housing developments in the area.

Mike Wright, of Warton Residents Against Poor Planning (WRAPP), said the vote showed a re-think of the borough’s housing strategy is needed.

He added: “It was a great 
result for residents. We had a 25 per cent turn-out.

“Unlike normal elections, there was no postal voting allowed, the polling station was only open for five hours and no polling cards issued by the parish or borough councils so it was left to WRAPP to publicise and encourage residents to have their say in the poll.

“The poll comes on the back of more than 800 
signatures from Warton residents against the Local Plan, which was delivered to Fylde Council in August.”

Warton Coun Julie Brickles said the vote sent a clear message to Fylde Council and showed a “massive backlash” against the controversial 
Local Plan. She added: “My initial thoughts were that it was an excellent turnout. A clear message has been sent to the borough about the local plan.

“I do feel the borough will have to re-visit the housing needs and plans for Warton.

“There is a massive backlash within Warton and I think had the (housing) numbers been less to start with there would not have been such a reaction.

“There is an extraordinary strength of feeling on this. The voting station was only open for five hours and there was a better turn-out than the county council elections in Warton earlier this year.”

Following the result, Coun David Eaves, leader of Fylde Council revealed he has written to the borough’s MP, Mark Menzies, to back a “common sense” approach to housing.

Coun Eaves asked Mr Menzies to support a “sensible” proposal to the country’s planning minister Nick Boles, outlining a five-year supply of housing which could help protect the borough’s open countryside and spaces.

In a letter shown to the Express, Coun Eaves said 1,170 homes are more than adequate to present a five year supply of housing.

He added: “The proposed five year housing supply figure for Fylde included with this letter is an assessment of our own housing need based on robust evidence in accordance with the advice from Mr Boles.

“The five year housing supply figure for Fylde, is attached with this letter. I would request this be ‘considered on its own merits’ and presented to the department with your support.”

Mr Menzies said: “It’s something I have been working with Fylde Council on for some time now. It is really important when the council is doing its housing supply number it needs to be able come up with a number that is right for Fylde.

“I am determined to do everything I can to make sure the concerns of David Eaves and Fylde Council are met.