Babylon Lane, Adlington Land, p planning docs

Adlington Land's proposals were designed by Gallagher Technical & Design. Credit: via planning documents

Chorley wins resi appeal, but still pays costs

Adlington Land’s application to construct 40 homes off Babylon Lane in Heath Charnock was rejected by the Planning Inspectorate – however issues surrounding the need for a second hearing meant the council still needs to chip in for the appeal price tag.

Adlington began the appeal process in October, after Chorley Council had been unable to deliver a verdict on the application prior to the determination deadline of 15 September 2023.

The project would have delivered a mixture of two-, three-, and four-bed homes, including 12 affordable ones on a five-acre plot accessible by Whitebeam Close. Gallagher Technical & Design drew the layout for the neighbourhood. The project team included PWA Planning, Urban Green, E3P, Gondolin Land & Water, and Eddisons.

Chorley Council did review the application at its November 2023 planning committee meeting, where it had been recommended for approval by the council’s officers. However, councillors disagreed with their assessment and voted to refuse the project.

Reasons for refusal included harm to the local character of the area and flood risk.

Inspector Anne Jordan took this into consideration when she made her decision about the application. She also looked at whether or not the scheme would impact negatively the nearby grade two-listed Greenhaigh Farmhouse, which sits nearby, or if it would harm highway safety.

In the end, Jordan ruled that Adlington’s proposals would not harm the local character, the nearby heritage building, or highway safety.

However, the point about flood risk did have merit, she said – and was able to overpower the fact that Chorley cannot demonstrate a four-year housing supply.

Jordan noted that a small part of the five-acre site suffers from a medium to high risk of surface water flooding. Because of this, she argued, a sequential test should have been undertaken.

In her report, Jordan wrote: “…I therefore conclude that the proposal would result in development in an area of flood risk which is not justified by wider sustainability benefits and so fails to comply with Policy 29 of the Central Lancashire Core Strategy 2012 which seeks to avoid inappropriate development in flood risk areas, or with national policy in the framework which has similar aims.”

Lightening the blow to Adlington is the fact that it will be able to recoup some of its costs.

The appeal happened over the course of two hearings, because 125 residents were not notified of the first hearing. While requests for the costs of the first hearing were denied, Jordan ruled that the council would have to pay Adlington’s costs for the second – as it was the council’s responsibility to ensure everyone involved was notified.

“Although the failure was not a deliberate act, it nonetheless arose because of the failure of the council to ensure that the consultation exercise was being carried out,” Jordan wrote.

She added later: “Whilst all agree that the matter was unfortunate, in the normal course of events it should clearly have been avoided and amounted to unreasonable behaviour.”

You can learn more about the application by searching reference number 23/00510/OUTMAJ on Chorley Council’s planning portal. To see the appeal documents, use reference APP/D2320/W/23/3329702 on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

Your Comments

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Chorley needs more houses! The fact they cannot even demonstrate 4 year land supply is a joke. Run like a Circus

By Anon

The fact that notification is undertaken by and all other costs/venue hire etc are borne by the relevant Council rather than the Planning Inspectorate is an odd thing when the appeal is a matter for PINS.

They should be the ones informing parties of appeals since comments must be directed to them – but only through their convoluted portal/by post and no longer direct by email, which is a nice decision to be able to make – and they run the entire event, to which Council’s are just a party.

But then the Civil Service does consider itself separate to Local Government, when it benefits them.

By JohnMac

This patch of land was not suitable for any further housing as its small and already a difficult road to drive down due to narrow roads and cars parked along it. Chorley Council built a number of houses including Buckshaw Village and other developments via the Central Lancashire 2012 plan and more than met their original targets for the next ten years. However, more recent national government demands for more houses have skewed the plans and are what’s being referred to in the 4 year land supply. Houses on their own are not going to alleviate current supply issues as areas such as Adlington already have infrastructure challenges for GPs, schools and transport. More thought and less greed from Adlington Land might have got a different outcome.

By Anonymous

This patch of land is suitable for housing – It is allocated for Safeguarded for Housing. This means that when the Council need further sites to meet their housing quota, sites like this should be released for residential development. It was only due to Adlington’s laziness in sorting their Flood Risk out that this has been refused. When they get their acts together, it will breeze through and Planning will be granted. Chorley needs the houses!!

By Anon

Housing targets are a joke, and not based in any local evidence, many district councils appoint large developers to support them to write their local plans so of course we need to keep building houses on fields.

By JamesC

Just build houses everywhere. Why not build them on the motorway embankments. Seems any land is fair game these days even swamps.

By Anonymous

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