Goosnargh residents prepare to fight housing plans

Posted on - 27th August, 2018 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Grimsargh, Housing, Politics, Preston News
An overhead view of the Bushell's Farm development
An overhead view of the Bushell’s Farm development

Hundreds of residents in two villages on the outskirts of Preston have vowed to derail potential housing developments.

Proposals for hundreds of homes in Goosnargh and Whittingham have been branded as ‘ill-conceived and badly researched’.

More than 400 people have joined a Facebook group called ‘Goosnargh and Whittingham against overdevelopment’ since plans were lodged for 140 new homes at Bushells Farm off Mill Lane in the village.

Michelle Woodburn who is leading the campaign against the housing plans said: “The residents of Goosnargh and Whittingham are vigorously opposed to the raft of planning proposals and applications currently being submitted for new build developments in our village, for which there has been no consultation.

“We believe that these plans are ill-conceived, badly researched, misleading and will be severely damaging to our rural community which must be protected. We would also challenge why developers are insistent on building on green field sites when brown field sites such as Whittingham Hospital site are readily available.

“Our community is coming together to fight these plans and formal objections are currently being lodged with Preston City Council.

The land at Bushell's Farm which is due for development
The land at Bushell’s Farm which is due for development

“This proposal is just one of several that are ongoing for our area which, if all were approved, would result in the construction of over 2,000 new homes, effectively quadrupling the size of our small village. We are surrounded by new developments, either completed or under construction, in neighbouring towns and villages within a three to four mile radius, so how can there possibly be a legitimate need for a further 2,000 houses in this area?

“We have basis for a vast number of legitimate concerns regarding volume of traffic and road safety, access to all proposed sites, already strained public amenities, emergency service vehicle access, oversubscribed schools, the destruction of natural habitat for the wildlife native to our area, increased crime rate, drainage and sewage, loss of rural identity. And the list most certainly goes on.”

“The proposals of these developers and planning consultants are entirely opportunistic and motivated by profit, and most certainly NOT motivated by any perceived benefit to existing residents, either now or in the future.

“It has also become clear that Preston City Council are powerless to intervene due to their failure to produce a five year housing plan. Even if these plans are rejected in the first instance, it is entirely likely that developers will appeal this decision and be granted approval due to lack of funding to cover the appeal process. These developers and consultancies are essentially holding Preston City Council to ransom and capitalising on this loophole which is entirely abhorrent and exploitative.

“We want to make it abundantly clear that we will be fighting all of these proposals at all levels, up to and including Central Government, to change a fundamentally flawed system where the profiteering developers can dictate the future of our rural communities for their own commercial gain.”

Read more: Developers win appeal to build hundreds of homes in Broughton

A map released by the campaign group shows where new homes are due to go in and around Goosnargh.

Goosnargh and Whittingham development areas
Goosnargh and Whittingham development areas

The Bushells Farm site is a joint development with the Community Gateway Association with 45 per cent of the homes being classed as affordable.

Executive director of customers and communities at Community Gateway Louise Mattinson said at the time of lodging the plans: “We are delighted to be involved in this development as it provides affordable housing in a popular location where there are few alternative affordable options.

“Being involved in the design and the application means we can provide more affordable housing and homes that are of a suitable size and quality to meet the needs of the local community.”

What do you think of the campaigners comments? Do you live in the area? Let us know your views in the comments below

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