In the first part of a planning focus special, KAY TAYLOR reports that a major new road is set to be built in Leyland in two years’ time, to accomodate an influx of homes.
A quiet Leyland cul-de-sac WILL become the main access road for a new housing development, as councillors admitted they are under pressure from developer Wainhomes.
Members of South Ribble’s planning committee have reluctantly agreed that Bannister Lane in Farington Moss can be temporarily used for residential traffic to access a future 125-home housing estate off Croston Road.
The site had already been allocated for housing under the council’s Local Development Framework (LDF), but the committee promised that Bannister Lane would not be used to access the wider site, when they signed off a masterplan for the area last year.
Instead, they said a proposed spine road, which is set to be built connecting Croston Road to Flensburg Way as outlined in the Lancashire County Council (LCC) Highways and Transport Masterplan, would resolve the issue of increased traffic in the area.
That road will cut through the centre of the proposed 800-home development, between Heatherleigh and Moss Lane.
But developer Wainhomes requested permission to use Bannister Lane on a temporary basis, until the spine road is built, as it wants to go ahead with building 125 homes on the land.
After the committee deferred its decision to explore further access options at a planning meeting in February, missing the determination deadline, Wainhomes lodged an appeal with the planning inspector.
Meanwhile, the home-builder has also submitted a duplicate application to South Ribble Council, known as a ‘twin-tracking’ application, which the committee will vote on in a few weeks.
If that is approved, Wainhomes will withdraw its appeal, but in the meantime, the committee met last week to discuss the issue, and vote on whether they would have granted the initial application permission if the appeal hadn’t been lodged.
Planning manager Helen Hockenhull said: “The purpose of this is to inform the committee of the outcome of officers’ further exploration of the access options to the site, and to seek the committee’s view on how they would have determined the application if they were able to do so.
“The first option is to construct a temporary road from Flensburg Way, which LCC did not support due to road safety issues, and because it does not fit in with its Highways and Transport Masterplan.
“The second option is the early delivery of the new spine road. We have had positive discussions with landowners, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) who have just submitted a planning application for the northern section of the site for 400 homes [between Moss Lane and Croston Road].
“They propose the delivery of the spine road from Moss Lane, and said that would be an early part of their proposal.”
Planning documents add: “It is currently anticipated that a start on site would be realistic in the next three to four years.
“It is intended that the spine road would be constructed in one continuous contract, taking six to nine months.
“This means that the road could be in place in four to five years, 2018/19.”
Leader of the Council, Coun Margaret Smith, then made an announcement regarding how the recently signed-off City Deal will mean some of the work could be brought forward.
She explained that if the spine road was built by LCC using City Deal funding, the road could be open earlier than originally anticipated.
The money would later be sought back from the developers.
Coun Smith said: “In their application, the HCA envisage building in three to four years, which seems rather a long time.
“But under the City Deal, the spine road could be open by 2016, which is two to three years ahead of the HCA’s plans.
“That is within the county council remit, they say that is realistic.
“The temporary use of Bannister Lane, which is open-ended at the minute, would be given a timeline of 2016.
“I’m told that discussions are taking place between LCC and the HCA to reach an agreement for the spine road to start being built almost immediately, ready for 2016.
“I hope that gives reassurance to residents that we are trying hard to minimise the disruption to Bannister Lane.”