Preston snubs homes to preserve ‘rural character’

The city council is to block proposals from four developers for schemes totalling 512 homes on land designated as open countryside near the villages of Goosnargh and Bilsborrow. 

The applications were first refused last February and are expected to be knocked back by Preston City Council for a second time amid concerns over the proposed scale of the developments.

Seddon Homes wants to build 100 houses across 17 acres east of Garstang Road, close to the village of Bilsborrow, but the council’s planning officers said the development “would have an unacceptable visual impact on the landscape character of the area”, and have recommended the application be refused. 

A similar fate awaits Gladman Developments, whose application for 145 homes across 19 acres north of Whittingham Lane in Goosnargh was refused early last year. 

Now, the resubmitted application has been earmarked for rejection by planning officers, who deem the proposals “inappropriate”. 

A report to the council’s planning committee said: “The cumulative impacts of the proposal…would result in a radical change to the character of the rural village, due to the rapid and unsustainable unplanned growth, which would be inappropriate.” 

In addition, joint applicants Gerald Gornall and housing association Community Gateway Association resubmitted plans for 140 homes on 19 acres at Bushells Farm off Mill Lane near Goosnargh, after the scheme was refused last year. 

The applicants have since lodged an appeal against the council’s decision to refuse the original application, which is scheduled to begin in April. 

Meanwhile, the fresh application is likely to be rejected too because the development would “destroy [Goosnargh’s] character as a rural settlement”, according to officers. 

The same reason has been given to justify a recommendation to refuse a pair of proposals from applicant Michael Wells, who is seeking permission to build 127 homes at Swainson Farm, also in Goosnargh. 

An appeal to overturn an earlier refusal of the plans is expected to begin in the spring. 

Preston City Council’s planning committee will meet to discuss the applications on Thursday 7 January. 

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Agree that too much building is encroaching on the countryside around Preston and neighbouring communities. Houses are thrown up but there’s a general lack of support facilities – schools, surgeries, shopping.

By Michael John Duffy

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