Social housing scheme could fall through as plans not passed

The former Fishwick's bus depot site in Hewitt Street, Leyland, earmarked for development
The former Fishwick's bus depot site in Hewitt Street, Leyland, earmarked for development
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Plans for a new social housing estate in Leyland hang in the balance after councillors were unable to agree on a way forward for the scheme.

South Ribble Council’s planning committee couldn’t reach a majority vote over a project to build 33 affordable homes at the former Fishwick’s bus depot site off Hewitt Street, near Golden Hill Lane. Concerns over traffic around the busy junction, which is next to Chapel Brow, meant that councillors wanted more time to ‘clarify’ Lancashire County Council’s highways team’s views on the issue, and the decision was deferred.

But John Ambrose from Primrose Holdings, which was asked by New Progress Housing to locate land for social housing in the borough, warned funding from the Homes and Communities Agency could fall through if the scheme wasn’t passed on Wednesday, because work needed to start soon on the site.

Sitting on the planning committee, Leyland town centre councillor Derek Forrest said: “I don’t want to sit around and wait for someone to be killed before we do something.

“We need to take a step back and put the pause button on this [planning application], and try to think about how we can improve the roads.

“It would ease my conscience to know that we at least looked at it in detail. Lives are more important than money. I propose we defer this.”

Coun Graham Walton argued: “I can’t see the point in deferring this until the next planning meeting in October. The matter won’t go away.

“We’re always pushing for affordable housing in Leyland and South Ribble, and we class county highways reports as bible. I propose we approve this.”

A vote to defer the decision resulted in six in favour and six against, with one councillor abstaining.

Chairman Coun Jon Hesketh had the casting vote, and opted to defer the decision for the next meeting in October.

- For more on this story, see this week’s Leyland Guardian.