Campaigners against development on a parcel of land at Ingol Golf Club celebrated a victory on Monday at the Town Hall.Advertisement
Rowland Homes had applied to build 164 homes and associated works on the former six, seven and eight holes of the Ingol course.
But a fierce campaign by local residents and councillors saw Preston City Council’s planning committee go against their officers recommendation and vote for refusal.
Officers had recommended the scheme on 13.6 hectares of land for approval, but a motion proposed by Preston Rural North councillor Alexandra Thompson-Ortega to reject the application was supported.
After nearly two hours of lively debate the committee voted by a majority to say the loss of provision at the golf club would not be replaced by an equivalent or better provision.
There was controversy when a late change from the applicants indicated the Lancashire Golf Union had endorsed the revamped, smaller golf course, as being to a correct standard for stroke play.
But questions from councillors revealed the course had been recommended for accreditation by the Golf Union but this would not be confirmed until November.
Bruce Ellison, chairman of the Ingol Golf Village Residents Association, addressed the planning committee in objection to the application.
He said: “A report from an independent consultant, Smiths Leisure, states the golf course will be a poorer playing area. And this is likely to impact the financial position of the golf club.
“This development would build on an open space and be detrimental to the area of Ingol.”
His three minute speech was met with rapturous applause from a packed public gallery.
The committee also heard from John Wright, one of the directors of Ingol Golf Club.
He warned the economic consequences of not approving the new homes could spell the end of the golf club.
He said: “Part of this deal includes Rowland Homes funding our junior academy.
“We want to change the way the golf club operates and encourage younger people in. We need to become more family-friendly.
“Our aim is to get to 400 members. We believe this would be sustainable. The new course and funds from the housing development would help us achieve this.”
The agent acting on behalf of Rowland Homes, Marco De Pol, spoke in support of the plans.
He said: “This application will provide a major contribution to addressing the lack of housing supply in Preston.
“It will also provide affordable housing and does not threaten the area of separation between Ingol and Greyfriars.
“In fact, 53 per cent of the land proposed for development will remain as open green space with landscaping.”
Liberal Democrat leader and Ingol ward councillor Pauline Brown spoke at the meeting, explaining the strength of local feeling against the development.
She said: “There is a serious risk the area between Ingol and Greyfrairs in Fulwood will disappear if this application goes ahead.
“We do not yet know the result of the Local Plan. The actual areas of open space have not been approved by a planning inspector. How can you make a decision without knowing that?”
During a lengthy debate between councillors and officers, Garrison councillor and committee member Stuart Greenhalgh expressed he was uncomfortable with the application arriving “prematurely”.
He said: “There’s too many grey areas here. This is premature. How can we make a decision on this without the Local Plan being approved? And the Golf Union hasn’t formally accredited the course either.”
A majority of councillors first voted not to accept the planning officers recommendation for approval, and then backed the motion for refusal.
Rowland Homes could now appeal the decision to a planning inspector.
Blog Preston has approached Rowland Homes for comment, and is expecting to hear from them shortly.
Do you live in the area? What do you think of the outcome? Let us know in the comments below