Residents in a flutter over plans for 39 new homes in Preston

Rare White Letter Hairstreak butterflies have been spotted near the site recently.
Rare White Letter Hairstreak butterflies have been spotted near the site recently.

A rare butterfly could be threatened by plans for a housing development in Preston, it has been claimed.

The White Letter Hairstreak (inset) has been spotted recently close to the Deafway charity headquarters off Brockholes Brow.

Imperial Fairways have asked the city council for permission to build 39 homes on what they describe as “unkempt, vacant scrubland.”

But three locals have objected - one of them claiming a portion of the land is a biological heritage site and the development “could impact on the survival of the White Letter Hairstreak Butterfly.”

Another nearby resident insisted: “The spoiling of a beautiful woodland area is a travesty and will have a devastating effect on the wild life population that makes this land their home and place to forage.”

In a report to the city’s planning committee, the developers say “the existing scrubland will be replaced by high quality accommodation, improving the aesthetics and character of the local area.” New residents would benefit local businesses and increase council tax funding in the area.

The land was previously given planning permission in 2015 for 14 detached homes, but that scheme was never implemented.

Imperial Fairways say that permission “established the principle that residential development was acceptable on the site.

"The proposed development represents an efficient re-use of the site - and does not represent a development that causes significant harm.”

The White Letter Hairstreak has a “high” conservation rating after populations have reduced by 91 per cent in the UK since the 1970s.