Shock as planners refuse horticultural nursery’s application

Oakfield, Lodge Lane, Leyland
Oakfield, Lodge Lane, Leyland

It could be back to the drawing board for a Leyland business as plans have been unexpectedly thrown out by the council’s planning committee.

Richard Seed, of Oakfield horticultural nursery off Lodge Lane, Farington Moss, submitted a retrospective planning application to South Ribble Council to change a wildlife pond into a fishing pond, among other amendments at the site.

The planning officers had recommended the scheme get the green light, but members of the committee, made up of councillors, surprisingly turned it down last week.

Committee member Coun Graham Walton said: “It’s quite controversial because it’s a retrospective application. The applicant had previously applied to relocate the business, and its ended up looking nothing like what was agreed.

“It will be back to the drawing board for him.”

Oakfield was previously based closer to the household waste recycling centre on Flensburg Way, but got permission to move to Lodge Lane in 2011.

But the council has argued that some of the work does not match what was outlined in the original plan, so Mr Seed put forward the retrospective application.

Planning documents read: “Approval for the erection of glasshouses and polytunnels was obtained through the previous application but the current application includes some minor revisions to the layout and height of the glasshouses.

“The site is currently being used as a horticultural nursery but the ponds, access track and landscaping bunds (man-made mounds) have already been developed.

“The southern pond has been used as a fishing pond.”

Despite the planning officers suggesting it should be passed, because the development ‘does not appear to have a significant impact on the Green Belt or on the amenity of neighbouring properties’, the committee refused to grant permission because members had concerns about ecology at the site.

Coun Derek Forrest added: “We’re a bit browned off now with people making retrospective applications – like the Withy Arms pub in Leyland.

“People just keep doing things their own way.

“It puts pressure on us when money has already been spent on these developments, and we’re supposed to treat them as new applications, but it is hard.”

Mr Seed said: “I’m disappointed with this result and I will be appealing the decision.”