Preston City Council put on a planning extraordinaire on Thursday evening, as they invited local residents to put forward their views on a number of proposed planning sites.
98 sites were put forward to the council by landowners, developers and locals as potential sites for the council to use for development over the next 15 years, and the Northern Area Forum, held at St. Pius X Preparatory School, was an opportunity to discuss them.
The council are using the Area Forums as a means of getting the public’s opinion on the proposals.
There were a number of planning officers on hand to answer residents’ specific questions; but the three key questions that the council were looking for answers to were:
Around 50 residents were at the forum, a much improved attendance on normal proceedings. They were asked to split up into smaller groups to dissect the plans further, and in more detail.
I was sat with a group of local residents who were particularly concerned with the over-development of Northern Preston.
Mrs Littlefair, who lives in Fulwood, was worried that further development would eradicate what was left of north Preston’s green space: “When I moved to Fulwood in 1960, all I could see was green land. It has changed so much.”
Looking at a particular plot of land singled out for development, the controversial Harris Park, off Garstang Road, Mrs Littlefair added: “The traffic is awful on the Garstang Road at the best of times, how bad will it be if they further develop this site?
“How big do we want Preston to be? Is there going to be this much demand for housing in the next 15 years?”
Mrs Littlefair’s husband had similar worries, and told how there was two derelict bungalows just down Garstang Road that have been empty for over 10 years.
Another local, Mr Boden, also of Fulwood, had similar concerns: “Why build more houses if no-one is buying the ones we already have?”
“Preston used to be a nice place to live. It’s lost its rural feel.”
Another couple from Fulwood, Mr and Mrs Adams closed the evening’s discussions with a valid point: “The problems arise because Preston City Council put forward the planning application, and then traffic provision is an afterthought from Lancashire County Council.”
The next set of discussions on the plans will take place on Thursday at 7pm at Farringdon Park Community Centre, on Thirlmere Road.