Pickerings Farm is allocated for housing, although the council objected to Taylor Wimpey's and Homes England's plan for part of the site. Credit: via planning documents

South Ribble seethes after 1,100-home appeal defeat 

Leader Cllr Paul Foster said overturning the council’s refusal of Taylor Wimpey and Homes England’s 1,100-home Pickering’s Farm scheme in Penwortham would cause “utter chaos for generations”.

The government’s decision to side with Taylor Wimpey and Homes England rather than South Ribble Council in the long-running saga was described by Foster as an “awful government intervention in our democratic process”.

Read the full 130-page decision notice 

“I cannot find the words to describe how bitterly upset I feel…[about] the inspector allowing the appeals and permitting thousands of homes to be built to the detriment of our community,” he said.

“Our democratically elected councillors refused this application twice, and yet some bureaucrat based in Bristol can spend a few days here, overturn a decision, and cause utter chaos for generations.”

The scheme, billed as The Lanes, was proposed across two outline applications.

The first of the outline applications in question sought permission to build up to 920 homes, a two-form entry primary school, and a facility for retail and offices. The second is for 180 homes.

The application reference number with South Ribble Council for the 920 homes project is 07/2021/00886/ORM, while the smaller application’s number is 07/2021/00887/ORM.

Together, these projects are set on nearly 130 acres of farmland allocated for development in South Ribble’s local plan, and offer more than 15 acres of green space and playgrounds.

South Ribble had twice rejected the plans citing a host of reasons including the impact it would have on the local highway network.

However, the appeal decision notice states that the “inspector [and] the secretary of state have not identified any material considerations which carry weight against the proposals”.

On the issue of highways specifically, the inspector said the council had not provided clear evidence that the scheme would have a “severe adverse impact”.

“Even if the residual cumulative impacts on the highways could be described as severe, this does not necessarily lead to a conclusion that the appeal proposal should be refused, particularly bearing in mind that the appeal site is an allocated site in the adopted local plan,” the decision notice states.

“The government and inspector don’t believe the impact on the highways network is severe enough,” Foster added.

“I would argue they should spend a few more days with us and experience the severe detrimental impact we already face, congestion all around Penwortham and across the west coast main line and within Lostock Hall.”

Continuing his withering response to the decision, Foster said the government “haven’t got a clue what they have just done”, adding that [Whitehall] “does not appear to care” and promising to fight the decision.

“I could, and will say much more, but I assure our local community that we will continue to do everything in our power to challenge this decision in the High Court.

“This is democracy at its worst, with the government causing unprecedented impacts to our community for generations. This just can’t and won’t be tolerated.”

A spokesperson for Taylor Wimpey and Homes England said: “We have collaborated with the local community and other key stakeholders to develop our proposals and we welcome the recent decision to allow planning permission for the delivery of up to 1,100 homes.  

“The development will bring a number of key benefits to the area including 330 new affordable homes, local highway improvements, significant financial contributions via a Community Infrastructure Levy, land for a new primary school and a new local centre which will create new jobs as well as being an exciting new benefit to the local community.  

“We are creating a sustainable development in accordance with South Ribble’s Local Plan, providing active travel connections with the existing neighbourhoods whilst delivering the homes necessary to meet the needs of the local community.” 

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Councillor Paul Foster needs to wind his neck in and stop talking complete and utter illiterate nonesense. Perhaps if him and his fellow councillors actually studied a bit of planning law, they may have realised that their position for dismissal (especially for the highways reason and CBLR) was not only incorrect, but all over the place. You were all over the place and couldn’t string a coherent, logical and reasonable position together. I’d be utterly embarrassed if you were my councillor.

By Adam

Good decision, new homes are needed!


If this goes to the High court it will delay the project even further. Its not a question of if new homes should be built but the roads need to be adapted first. The area is designated for housing but Lostock hall In particular will be badly affected by this.

By Jon P

Allocated site in THEIR Local Plan!! Oh Dear God they’re going to build on it? I just can’t believe it…..

By Surprised Democrat

all the more reasons such decisions should be taken away from locally elected members who don’t have an experience in town planning etc. Great decision for people who need homes.

By Local Opposition

Its an allocated site. So, the exact place that developers should be building housing! Get it built!

By Anonymous

What a ridiculous diatribe from the Councillor. He needs an education in planning law before the Council waste further taxpayers money on defending another poorly constructed position on other sites in the future.

By Back to school

Cllr Foster is the Labour candidate for that area at the next GE. Just saying….

By Anonymous

Good news for progress on this allocated site.

By Sceptic

Can someone explain the background to this? It seems baffling the Local Authority is so opposed to a housing development on a site that they allocated for…..housing?!

By Anonymous

Anonymous – The background of the site is that this site has been allocated for residential development in the Local Plan. The councillors refused the application because of alleged severe impact to highways and infrastructure (such as the development of the CBLR road which TW will build only 89% since they are building/ development on part of the allocation, and not the full site). The councillors claimed that this development would have a severe impact on the local highways, which turned out to be untrue and a untenable position to hold. The councillors could not support their position that the impact on highways would be severe, and if you watched the committee, you could see their representative struggle to come up with a logical and coherent argument to support this position. If you want to read the inspectors report, the reference number is : 3295498. It’s good to see an inspector come down quite hard on blatantly unfair decision making by councillors.

The truth is there was no reasonable or sustainable argument to refuse this development, hence why the scathing inspector’s report, which if you read it, ridicules the Council’s decision.

By Adam

This scheme should go ahead,just because a few people live in country spaces does not mean that others cannot. I believe everyone should have the option of living in a nice countr space, it is the old NIBY syndrome. We need these homes.

By Anonymous

….and herein lies the problem. There was a democratic process that saw the site allocated and approved but new councillors are then elected who don’t like the policies their Council approved nor their officers recommendations and then claim no democracy .It’s this constant challenge that is ‘creating utter chaos for generations’

By B Wilder

“and permitting thousands of homes to be built to the detriment of our community,” he said….. I thought the proposal was 1,100 homes, not “thousands”??

By Anonymous

Adam – Yes I read most of the appeal decision yesterday. Some real gems in there. Just to name a few: Para 86 – ‘Fourthly, the standalone models use a synthesised peak. It introduces a Trumpian or fake curve, which creates a peak for half an hour within the peak hour. In other words, it artificially increases the traffic demand.’ / Para 104 – ‘Reason for refusal 11 is downright peculiar.’ The use of Trumpian in particular is hilarious.

By Anonymous

Adam – PS. Has the costs decision been published yet? Looking forward to reading that also 🙂

By Anonymous

Council need to plan infrastructure improvements around their development Local Plan. Done well with Edith Rigby Way, now they need a Penwortham bridge crossing to link it up quickly… and not in 20 years!


South ribble does not have the infrastructure With all the houses already being built. adding more is just going to make it gridlocked 24/7 the area can’t handle when the motorway closes as it is.

By Emma

It was allocated under a tory council I believe

By Chris

It was allocated under a tory council I believe.
I hope they are floating homes otherwise they’ll be submersible homes

By Chris

This is a prime example of why South Ribble Council needs an overhaul on its councillors and approaches they take. Councillor Foster is just the tip of the iceberg. They jump on the back of whatever the objectors say, rather than reviewing planning policy and planning law. This site is in the local plan that they approved to implement and as soon as it comes forward they do a complete 180 and fight it rather than working with the developers, same happened last year on a site in Longton, which another housebuilder stood ground and won. A constant theme with SRBC unfortunately ANTI-DEVELOPMENT, its a shame as it is a great area which will get left behind because of the archaic mentality of these few people. Councillors should be welcoming the investment.
Well done Taylor Wimpey and Homes England.

By Anonymous

We need adsolute assurance tht the human waste facilities are adequate to,serve the massive increase in housing and industry in South Ribble. Visual evidence in water sources of the area suggest not. Is there no one left that remembers the crypto sporadium outbreak 20 years,ago?

By Norman Crossley

Absolute disgrace that the government have overruled the local councils decision to refuse this development on valid reasons . The council have demonstrated that the local infrastructure cannot support this size of development until the infrastructure is massively developed to cope with an extra 1100 homes . They have also demonstrated that they can fulfil their housing requirements through other sites. Councillor Foster is being unfairly criticised for standing up for the local community and the local Conservative MP is hiding behind the development being not being removed from the overall plan. So does that mean that every development on the current list will be developed regardless of planning permission. What about the fact that the council and residents voted against it twice for valid reasons Does democracy mean nothing anymore? . Why would the government be interested in what happens in Penwortham?
Devolution and giving local councils more power to make decisions as long as it suits Westminster !
Strange how this decision has been delayed until the Conservatives rolled out their budget and re-election campaign.

By Tony

Oh no, providing affordable housing and normal housing for families meeting the housing need unmet by his generation for decades! What a shame!

Classic politician, probably under pressure from a load of older people who had the best years and are determined the world will never change.

Well done planning inspectorate, anyone under 40, working hard and trying to buy a house and make a life for themselves thank you. Cllr Foster, shame on you.

By Hugh

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