Plans underway for old test track

Major hopes: The former Leyland Motors Test Track could become a housing development
Major hopes: The former Leyland Motors Test Track could become a housing development

A derelict Leyland Motors site is a step closer to becoming a major housing development with shops, offices and playing fields.

A meeting over the future of the Moss Side Test Track has taken place at South Ribble Council offices, and the two owners of the land have now joined forces to help push a huge redevelopment project forward.

The council and property owner Pilgrim Technologies have agreed to work together in a bid to market the site to potential developers, and have drawn up a detailed plan outlining what the site should be used for.

The 64-page Development Brief states the brownfield land, which is surrounded by Longmeanygate, Reiver Road, Titan Way, Paradise Lane and Dunkirk Lane, should include around 850 homes; up to 5,000 square metres of Business Park; around 23,000 square metres for an industrial estate; 11.4 hectares of public open space, including playing fields and playgrounds; and 0.97 hectares of land for a Neighbourhood Centre, which could include a shop, restaurant, pub and newsagent.

Coun Cliff Hughes, the council’s cabinet member with responsibility for Strategic Planning and Housing, said: “The site of the old Moss Side Test Track has lain derelict for a number of years.

“It is an ideal location for a mixed-use development of employment, homes and green space.”

Discussions over what the land could be used for have been in the works for a few years, and a number of public consultations have also been held to get feedback from members of the community.

Coun Hughes added: “We produced a vision for the site two years ago, which sets out how we’d like any development to take shape.

“The land is in multiple ownership, so in order for the full social, economic and environmental potential of the site to be realised, it is important that all interested parties work closely together.

“At our last cabinet meeting, South Ribble Council agreed to combine its land with the other major property owner, Pilgrim Technologies, to market the site in a co-ordinated way.

“This is a major step in driving this project forward.”

The former test track opened in the 1970s and was used by Leyland Motors to trial prototypes and vehicles on a series of different road surfaces once they came off the production line.

Following the disposal of Leyland DAF Limited, Pilgrim Technologies retained the freehold ownership of the test track, while the land adjoining it is owned by the council.

The two parties hope that, by finally coming together to agree on a redevelopment plan, the potential for the huge scheme will be more attractive to developers, and more likely to get the go-ahead if any official plans are put forward in future.

The project also includes car parking and road access, such as bus, cycle and pedestrian routes, with the main access to the site proposed via Aston Way for the employment area, and via Titan Way to serve the residential area.

A number of affordable houses are also envisaged, but should be distributed evenly throughout the site to avoid areas that constitute solely of one type of housing.

- What do you think about the scheme? Email or call 01257 264911.