Whitestake mini bungalow estate plan rejected

Posted on - 19th July, 2023 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Housing, Penwortham, Politics, Preston News, South Ribble News
Long Moss Lane Pic: Google

Plans for a small estate of retirement bungalows in South Ribble have been rejected by councillors – because of the protected status of the land on which they would have been built.

The proposal for the 10-dwelling development, off Long Moss Lane in Whitestake, would have seen the properties spring up on a plot which is guarded against housebuilding in the district’s local plan.

The applicant, Michael Ellis, had brought forward a blueprint for both one and two-bedroomed bungalows, each with their own off-street parking and private amenity space.

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However, locals lined up to tell members of South Ribble Borough Council’s planning committee why they should refuse permission for the scheme – irrespective of the fact that the site was not earmarked for housing.

Nearby resident Sheila Owen said that the proposal could not, “by any stretch of the imagination”, be classed as a retirement village that might meet a local need.

“Other than offering independent bungalows, there are no social, sport, care or leisure facilities available locally. This is why retirement villages are built on a far grander scale, to include such facilities, and hence [foster] a community spirit,” Ms. Owen said.

Artist impression of one of the proposed bungalows

A Mrs. Emms – who told the committee that she was a Whitestake resident of 53 years – echoed concerns about the dearth of services in the immediate vicinity of the proposed estate.

“There are no suitable amenities at this end of the village for older people – or anybody. It’s a quarter of a mile to the nearest shop. The doctors surgery, which to my understanding is already oversubscribed, is approximately half a mile along from the site.

“If you walk another half a mile, [then] you’ll come to the heart of the village, where there are other shops,” Mrs. Emms added.

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However, she stressed that the village was nowadays devoid of a bus – and warned of the safety risks to any prospective residents of the bungalows even if they could get to the main shopping area under their own steam.

“As there are no pavements adjacent to the proposed [estate] – and with little or no capacity to build them – then this would also endanger the residents entering and exiting the proposed [development],” Mrs. Emms said.

Committee members had heard enough, with Cllr Will Adams declaring the decision a “straightforward” one. “I think it’s wholly inappropriate,” he said.

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Cllr Haydn Williams added that while there was a demand for retirement bungalows, “they have also got to be in the right place”.

With practical and planning policy concerns ringing in their ears, the committee unanimously rejected the proposal.

The site has been subject to a series of unsuccessful bids to build on it – often in greater dwelling numbers than the tally of bungalows that had been proposed this time round – for more than a decade.

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