There’s one week to go before one of the biggest planning decisions in recent Preston history.Advertisement
Preston North End is seeking permission for a second time for building hundreds of homes on Ingol Golf Club, alongside its new training complex.
Planning officers have recommended the amended scheme from the football club for approval.
A previous recommendation to approve the club’s plans for the homes and wider site was rejected in June by councillors.
PNE want to build 450 new homes, create an area of public open space and have a new training facility for the first team – moving from their Springfields site.
At the June planning committee the club secured stand-alone planning permission for the training ground itself, but has chosen to resubmit an amended wider scheme.
This wider scheme sees a larger area of open space given over to the creation a new public park with 42.3 hectares in total dotted throughout the housing development.
Councillors narrowly voted down the club’s plans in June, saying it would link Ingol and Fulwood and be over-development of the site. Previous smaller housing schemes for the site have been refused in 2011 and 2014.
An outpouring of support and rejection has been received about the planning application.
249 letters of objection were received, with 136 letters of support.
Read more: Government urged to call-in decision on PNE training ground
Preston City Council leader councillor Peter Rankin has publicly declared his support for the scheme, receiving a petition of 2,744 signatures who want the development to go ahead.
Planning officers write in their recommendation: “A considerable number of representations, both objecting to and in support of the application, have been received. Although the application does not accord with the development plan, as set out in previous sections of this report, it would result in a number of benefits which are material considerations and carry sufficient weight to overcome noncompliance with the development plan.
“These benefits relate to the creation of a significant amount of new public open space and the management and maintenance of that public open space in perpetuity, along with the provision of a new, high quality first team training facility for the city’s only professional football club in order to realise the club’s ambitions to compete at the highest tier of English League football.
“The proposal would also deliver a significant number of new dwellings within a sustainable location, contributing to maintaining the Council’s five year supply of deliverable housing land together with a 30 per cent provision of on-site affordable housing. The proposal would constitute an appropriate form of development in layout and design and would not, through appropriate mitigation, have any significantly adverse impacts on traffic and highway safety, ecology and nature conservation, amenity, ground conditions, utilities drainage and flood risk or archaeology and cultural heritage.”
Campaigners against the development on Ingol golf course said they ‘were not surprised’ by the planning officers recommendation.
Chairman of the Ingol golf village residents association Bruce Ellison said: “I’ve read through the report and it’s not surprise the planning officer has made this recommendation. They recommended the last scheme and so it would take a lot for them to admit they were wrong.
“There’s a lot more weight put behind certain parts of the application. But fundamental issues remain. The ‘park’ they talk of is not going to be an area of open space, as specified in the Local Plan.
“The council is also, after just a couple of years, showing disregard for the long-term plan they have come up with to address the housing need and development for the city. That’s potentially a national issue as they have a duty to produce these plans and follow them through.
“In terms of the planning committee meeting and moving the venue, I think it’s there to intimidate the planning committee. They want to make it difficult for them to refuse it.
“I have applied to make my points as an objector and will await the chairperson’s decision on whether I can address the committee or not.”
Blog Preston approached Preston North End for comment, but no response was received.
The decision is due to be made during the meeting on Thursday 10 August from 2.30pm, with the Guild Hall being used as a venue. The city council has put free tickets, available to register for online, which sold out within hours.
Who makes the decision?
There are 12 councillors on the planning committee
What happens if a councillor has a Preston North End season ticket?
If a councillor has a season ticket, they must come to their own decision as to whether they should participate in the meeting or not. Advice is available from the city council, but at the end of the day the decision rests with those councillors concerned.
What happens if they decide they can’t take part?
If a councillor feels that that they can’t participate in the meeting then they can appoint a substitute councillor who can attend the meeting in their absence.
In the event of a tie, the planning committee chairperson has the casting vote?
Blog Preston will be at the meeting to bring you live coverage of the decision.
What do you think of the planning officers comments? How do you feel about the proposals? Let us know in the comments below