Menu

House plan for historic Preston garden thrown out but developer will be back

Posted on - 7th December, 2023 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Ashton-on-Ribble, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News
Larches House site
Larches House site

Plans to build houses in the historic garden of a listed building in Preston have been rejected.

Advertisement

The proposal would have seen 24 dwellings and a retail unit – with two apartments above it –  constructed in the grounds of one-time school Larches House.

The blueprint was knocked back by Preston City Council’s planning committee for a raft of reasons – chief amongst them that it was deemed to damage “the setting” of the Grade II-listed property.

Read more: Major changes to busy road leading to M6 given green light

However, the developer behind the scheme has told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) that he “will not be giving up” on his vision for the Larches Lane site.

Advertisements

Larches House was originally built in 1838 as a luxury residence before being converted into a special school in 1954.  That facility closed six years ago and the building has since been converted into offices and flats.

The latest plan, by Bamber Bridge-based Sapphire Construction Solutions, was to create a collection of terrace and semi-detached dwellings within the extensive gardens of the property, following the demolition of two prefabricated classrooms and an existing dwelling.

A report by city council planning officers noted that the principle of developing the plot – which sits within the urban area of Preston – was acceptable.   However, it was concluded that two of the seven phases of the development would cause “unacceptable harm” to the surroundings of Larches House.- altering the views to and from the listed building.

While the harm was assessed as being “less than substantial”, committee members were advised by offices that it should nevertheless be given “great weight”.

The meeting at which the decision was made heard that the developer was willing to compensate for the loss of green space by making a financial contribution to improving nearby Ashton Park.  However, the grounds of Larches House were considered to have “historic value” in themselves – and the proposed reduction in their size and scope was found to have “a direct and unacceptable impact”.

Advertisements
barton manor gym

Committee member – and Lea and Larches ward councillor – David Borrow said that there was “considerable concern in the area about the proposals”, adding that the site had been a “beautiful” one when the school was in operation, but had “changed a great deal in the years since then”. Seventeen public objections were lodged to the plans.

Town hall planning officer Jonathan Evans said that the developer had “failed to address” matters of concern which had been highlighted by the council earlier in the application process.  The papers presented to the committee noted that while the proposed number of dwellings had since been reduced by four, the plans still covered the same area as they had in their original form.

However, speaking to the LDRS, Mick Patel, director of Sapphire Construction Solutions, claimed that the company had offered to make further amendments to deal with the authority’s concerns.

He added that he planned to pursue the project – either by submitting a revised proposal or appealing against the council’s refusal of permission, depending on legal advice.

“We’re in desperate need of housing – and these were [going to be] aimed at people who can’t get a house.

“That’s why we didn’t propose building massive properties, we [were going to build] smaller houses to give people a chance to get on the property [ladder],” said Mr. Patel who did not address the committee meeting.

Thirty per cent of the proposed dwellings would have fallen into the “affordable homes” category, as required by Preston’s local planning policy for an estate of the type put forward.

However, the city council concluded that that amounted to a “generic” benefit which did not outweigh the harm that the development was deemed to cause.

Subscribe: You can now opt-in to receive Blog Preston news updates through Whatsapp via this link.

Read moreSee the latest Preston news and headlines

Advertisements
Share
Advertisements
barton manor gym
Preston in pictures Sunset at the bull nose24.02.18 - Preston [Queuing] 240216Past Times1Bistrot PierreCrystal HouseAnd dog food pleaseDocklands @ PrestonDown the middle View more Advertisement Subscribe to the newsletter

Sign up below to receive Blog Preston's email newsletter. It wings its way into inboxes every Sunday and Wednesday rounding up our top stories and more.

Advertisement News by location

Find news by location, select an area of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.

The Preston Guide

Discover local businesses and services near you.

    Advertisements
Advertisement Categories

Find news by category, select an category of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.

Blog Preston email updates

Receive our digest of the biggest and best stories every Sunday to your email inbox

We respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time from our emails