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South Ribble rejects masterplan for 2,000-home development

Words: Huw Morris
Ribble Valley

A masterplan by Taylor Wimpey and Homes England for a major development in South Ribble has been refused amid significant concerns from statutory consultees about the site’s deliverability.

The masterplan sets out proposals for 2,000 homes for the Pickerings Farm in Penwortham. It includes a mix of detached, semi-detached, mews and apartment properties with a local centre comprising a food store, offices and other community facilities.

South Ribble Borough Council’s planning committee heard views from supporters and objectors to the masterplan and reviewed responses from a  consultation held in August and September. Significant concerns were raised by statutory consultees including the local highway authority, Lancashire County Council, Network Rail and Highways England about the viability and suitability of the masterplan.

A major concern surrounds the completion of a cross-borough link road which would run through the estate from the planned entrance to the development off the A582 Penwortham Way. The masterplan was criticised for potentially placing an unviable financial burden on housebuilders looking to develop land not owned by Taylor Wimpey, putting the entire road scheme at risk and prompting fears a large part of the development would be completed before the new road was in fully in place. South Ribble’s planners had recommended deferring the proposal but members decided to refuse the masterplan.

“This is a significant site which will impact the borough greatly, so it’s important that we get it right,” said planning chair Caleb Tomlinson.

“The decision to refuse was the right one. As a council we are pro development, but only when it’s done right, is deliverable and is of a benefit to South Ribble and its residents. “The concerns raised as part of the consultation along with valid views from members on and off the planning committee, our statutory bodies and local residents were too strong to ignore. To defer on this basis would have sent the wrong message.

“We will now await any further proposals to come back into the committee for our consideration.”