Campaign launches to block Harris Park homes development in Fulwood

Posted on - 31st May, 2020 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Cadley, Fulwood, Housing, Politics, Preston Council, Preston News, Redevelopment, Sharoe Green
The former orphanage buildings are now in private ownership Pic: Tony Worrall
The former orphanage buildings are now in private ownership Pic: Tony Worrall

Campaigners are gearing up for a fight to stop a proposed housing development in the grounds of a former orphanage.

As reported on Blog Preston, Yousuf Bhailok has tabled plans for 69 new homes in Harris Park and the conversion of the grade-II listed building into nine apartments.

Mr Bhailok has owned Harris Park, in Fulwood, which was previously an orphanage and built in 1877, since 2006 when he bought it from the University of Central Lancashire.

Proposals lodged by planning agents Cassidy + Ashton for the mix of new homes on the current recreation ground land behind the gates of Harris Park has been met with dismay by many in Fulwood.

The outline plan for the new homes on the orphanage site
The outline plan for the new homes on the orphanage site

A campaign group has been started to raise funds for legal advice to object to the plans.

Fulwood residents Prema Taylor, Joanne Adams and Amanda Isherwood are working with Leith planning to co-ordinate objections to the Harris Park scheme.

Prema Taylor told Blog Preston: “I am fully aware of the need for housing and development, and the jobs construction and development will generate, especially in the light of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus.

“However it is vitally important that heritage sites are protected – especially when they were originally left to the public for the purposes of enjoyment and education, and should never have fallen into private hands.

“Once they are lost there is no going back and no sense of history left for our children. The proposed development at the site of the Harris Park is something all Prestonians should have a say in, not just the residents of Fulwood.

“The lockdown has demonstrated how important nature and green spaces are to well being, and excluding the public from the recreational area within the Harris Park complex, and then describing it as ‘unused’, is cynical and a manipulation of the truth.

“If the development goes ahead the extra traffic generated will cause further congestion to an already clogged up main road. There is already a significant development programme in progress at the former Jean Juggan (Little Sisters of the Poor) site. Surely there are other vacant sites more suitable for such a development.”

The former Harris Orphanage on the Harris Knowledge Park
The former Harris Orphanage spire is a distinctive landmark in Fulwood

Read more: Clearance work at Larches House riles nearby residents

A Justgiving page has seen Prestonians donate £1,152 to fund the legal advice to table an objection to the Harris Park plans.

The group said a petition against the development is also being circulated around Fulwood and has more than 100 signatures so far.

Planning documents submitted with the planning application to Preston City Council state: “The proposals represent a high quality scheme.

“The redevelopment of the vacant recreation ground and existing buildings represents an opportunity to provide for the borough a mix of housing of different size, type and affordability to meet current and future need.”

The full plans can be seen on the city council website and will go forward to a meeting of the city’s council planning committee in the coming months.

Read more: Sumners development in Fulwood passes despite community objections

Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

What do you think about the plans for Harris Park? Let us know in the comments below

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