Former pub site in Bamber Bridge set to be used for affordable homes

The site of the McKenzie Arms after the pub was demolished
The site of the McKenzie Arms after the pub was demolished
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The site of a former pub in Bamber Bridge has come a step closer to being used for affordable homes.

South Ribble Council’s cabinet agreed to explore the “viability” of developing the land, which has been derelict since the pub was demolished in 2012. It has recently been used as an informal car park.

READ MORE >>> Why did council spend £500k on derelict pub?
A public consultation into the future of the plot attracted just one respondent - and they wanted to see the car park retained.

Colin Clarke, cabinet member for assets on the Conservative-run authority, said the area was “unsightly” and the council will now apply to a government-backed fund to support the redevelopment of the site. A report to cabinet suggested that it could also include “mixed use” premises.

But Labour opposition leader, Paul Foster said the location, on Station Road, has “chronic air quality issues”.

“It isn’t right that the young families who have to live in affordable accommodation have to put up with the worst air quality,” he said.

However, deputy council leader, Caroline Moon, said she found it “tiresome” to hear repeated warnings about air quality in that part of Bamber Bridge, because the figures “do not justify the comments".

“This is about getting young people on the housing ladder - why would you not support people to have their own home?”

The latest air quality data shows that levels of nitrogen dioxide on Station Road fell during 2017 and are below maximum recommended levels - but one of the monitoring stations on the road puts it within the four most polluted areas of South Ribble.

Cabinet member for public health, Karen Walton, added that the current use of the land as a car park would mean the impact of any new development on air quality would be “negligible”.

An application would have to be put before the council's cross-party planning committee before a final decision is made.

Cllr Foster also expressed concern over an outstanding report into the council’s purchase of the site as part of a plan to provide access to a separate residential development on the former Wesley Street Mill at the rear of the plot. When work finally began last year, it emerged the developer had opted to use a different route and the McKenzie Arms land was no longer required.

“”We must understand the outcome of that legal report before we decide if we want to invest in that land further,” Cllr Foster said.

The independent investigation is exploring whether the council paid more than the going rate after acquiring the site for £520,000 in 2012.