Talks over future of home plan

The former Prestolite site on Cleveland Road in Leyland
The former Prestolite site on Cleveland Road in Leyland
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Planning bosses are looking to put an end to a two-year long battle to start a housing development at a derelict factory site in Leyland.

Developers Bellway Homes were granted planning permission in 2009 to build 98 homes at the former Prestolite in Cleveland Road.

But work on the site has never started because a decision could not be reached over a Section 106 legal agreement about affordable housing and open space.

Now, planning chiefs at South Ribble Council are looking to kick-start the process after talks between the landowner, developer Bellway Homes and Yorkshire Bank, who hold the mortgage, failed to reach an agreement.

A new report will go before members of South Ribble Council’s planning committee tonight (Wednesday) which asks them to allow the development to go ahead without a section 106 agreement, in the hope of seeing work start soon.

The report says: “The difficulties primarily revolve around valuation and commercial issues between the landowner, their bank and the applicant.

“A meeting of the parties has taken place. This has not resolved the issues and the section 106 agreement remains unsigned. Further consideration must now be given to the way forward.”

A section 106 agreement is drawn up between a local authority and developers to ensure a development is acceptable in terms of supporting highways works and contributing to affordable housing locally.

If an agreement is not drawn up it would mean the developers are not legally bound to include such features in their development, but extra conditions would be added to any planning permission to try and ensure affordable housing and a scheme of public open space are still included.

“These risks must be weighed against the lack of progress in this matter, the current impasse and the council’s desire to see the currently vacant site developed for housing contributing to the housing supply in the borough.”

The factory, which made starter motors for the automotive industry, was demolished in August 2008. It had closed its doors in 2005, with the loss of 81 staff.

A spokesperson for Bellway Homes said they would not comment ahead of the planning committee meeting tonight.