A major strategy for how Preston builds thousands of new homes is facing criticism from villagers.Advertisement
Woodplumpton Parish Council has released a statement attacking Preston City Council’s amended North West Preston Masterplan.
The proposal, which outlines how 5,300 new homes will be built, previously included community amenities such as a health centre.
But now the plans, amended in March, have seen a health centre removed and a proposal to expand Ingol Health Centre put in as an alternative.
Read more: Broughton Bypass delayed until 2018
The statement, published on the Parish Council website, is titled ‘Misleading Masterplan Misery’.
It states: “Following the blaze of publicity accompanying the launch of the so called Masterplan for NW Preston, Woodplumpton Parish Council are demanding that City Council Officers explain why the Masterplan has changed dramatically from the consultation version.
“The City Council paid consultants URS to establish the needs of the area – earmarked for 5,300 new homes – but in a complete U turn, senior Councillors have removed the Health Centre and several community facilities from the Masterplan stating the preferred option is to upgrade and expand existing facilities at Ingol surgery and co-locate community/leisure facilities with the new schools or Preston Grasshoppers.
“When launching the original plan, Council Leaders stated “This is about building long lasting and sustainable communities, not just houses” but since development started in early 2013 – with the exception of a children’s nursery – details of shops and community facilities have not been submitted by developers – just houses, houses and more houses!
“Woodplumpton Parish Council has repeatedly stated that the supporting infrastructure should be in place before the homes were approved – now we are finding out that the supporting infrastructure is being removed from the plans!
“The E-W link road and Preston Distributor Road are way behind schedule; residents are faced with daily roadworks and traffic misery and planning conditions applied by the Council to safeguard the interests of existing residents are not being enforced.
“NW Preston was described as a ‘Garden City’ where facilities would be easily accessible on foot but with a complete disregard for public opinion and consultation, Council Leaders have stealthily approved a Masterplan which promotes car travel to the south, with no explanation or consideration of the inadequate parking facilities at Ingol surgery or the impact it will have on existing roads such as Tabley Lane and Tag Lane.
“The Parish Council arranged a meeting with City Council officers but the meeting was postponed – to allow officers more time to discuss the points raised with Highways.
“The Parish Council is elected to represent the views of the community and help protect the quality of life in the local area but as our concerns are not being listened to and changes are being made without further consultation with residents, we urge all residents living in and around NW Preston to contact the Leader of the Council to add their concerns regarding the current development, lack of facilities, reliance on the surgery at Ingol and lack of consultation regarding the final version of the adopted Masterplan.”
Read more: Major Preston roads take next step on road to approval
The claims from the Parish Council have been rebuffed by the city council – who says the Masterplan will be constantly amended during its lifetime.
Director for planning at the city council Chris Hayward said: “We are in continuing discussions with Woodplumpton Parish Council regarding the Masterplan for North West Preston and take their concerns seriously.
“However, we do not feel that the Masterplan has changed significantly, but that the adjustments that have been made are a direct result of the consultation, both with the public and with partners. For example, the decision for health provision reflects the changing policy of the NHS, and places a focus on higher quality provision in larger premises for the benefit of the entire community, both new and existing. This, as with all major elements of the Masterplan, is subject to review as the plan is implemented and we will continue to work closely with the NHS on health matters as they impact on North West Preston.
“It is also worth noting that the City Deal offers a unique opportunity to provide other community infrastructure and facilities. For example, there is £5m dedicated to creating and maintaining new parks and community green space in North West Preston, which is in addition to that provided within housing developments by housebuilders. Due to the size and scale of this Masterplan it has to be understood that a phasing approach is necessary for its delivery and that each element will be provided according to where it is located and in consultation with the relevant organisations.”