Worries over Worden Park expansion

Worden Park
Worden Park

Expanding Leyland’s Worden Park if more houses are built in the town will be the responsibility of a housing developer, South Ribble Council has announced.

A public meeting was held last week to discuss the future of vacant land between Altcar Lane and Shaw Brook Road, during which it was revealed that the onus of extending the town’s flagship park ‘to benefit the community’ will be left to the developer.

Residents speaking at the meeting, held at the Civic Centre on Thursday, expressed concerns about the plans and said there are already problems with maintenance at the landmark park.

The large greenfield site, at the back of Leyland Lane, has been earmarked for housing in the council’s Local Development Framework (LDF) and a planning inspector listened to council officers, residents, and a representative for developer Redrow as they discussed issues such as traffic, flooding, and open green space.

The council has specified it would like to see a ‘masterplan’ put forward for the site, which has room for around 430 houses, to demonstrate what community facilities will also be developed there.

It has also said that the development of the land goes hand-in-hand with a proposed extension to Worden Park. During the hearing it was confirmed that the responsibility for the extension, and maintaining the extended area of the park, will lie with the housing developer.

Redrow has already drawn up an initial ‘phasing plan’ for the site, but Laurie Lane, speaking on behalf of the firm, said he ‘wasn’t aware of any particular requirements’ regarding Worden Park.

Resident Robert Edney, from Leyland Lane, said: “The council has issues already maintaining the park. I’d like to know how it will maintain an extension, when it is struggling with the existing park as it is.”

Council planning manager Debbie Holroyd-Jones responded: “There are ongoing improvement works taking place at Worden Park, and what has been identified for this site is to open up that side of the park for the benefit of the new community living in the houses, and the existing community.

“There has to be an open green space contribution from the developer, and we believe this would be a very positive improvement to Worden Park.

“The maintenance issues will be dealt with through a section 106 agreement between the council and the developer, and the onus will be on the developer rather than the council.”

Resident Wyn Sheryn, also of Leyland Lane, said: “If the developer is expected to be responsible for the open space, that is a heavy burden.

“The amount of maintenance needed for open space, particularly where there are sports pitches involved, is very high.”

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