End of Story housing plan for Lancaster

One of the fields near Ashton Road in Lancaster where Story Homes would like to build houses. Credit Google.
One of the fields near Ashton Road in Lancaster where Story Homes would like to build houses. Credit Google.
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A controversial housing development close to Lancaster Canal has been condemned by city councillors.

Plans to build 125 affordable homes at two crop fields off Ashton Road were refused.

The Story Homes scheme provoked 63 letters of objection and was described by planning officers as “unsustainable”.

Concerns were raised at Lancaster City Council’s Planning and Development Committee that the new houses would add extra traffic pressure to the Boot and Shoe junction and the Pointer Roundabout.

Story Homes said the land bordered by the canal, Carr Lane and Ashton Road would have minimal impact on traffic, a low risk to heritage and boost the economy.

But nearby residents complained saying the site would be over-reliant on cars and would “urbanise” the Lancaster countryside.

Local resident Ian Morgan said: “The application says the houses would have two to three car parking spaces per house, the site would be over-reliant on cars. Their traffic figures are flawed. They conducted their report in June, when there is better weather and the schools are off so there is less traffic anyway. Ashton Road would be subject to even more speeding traffic.”
Coun Eileen Blamire, leader of Lancaster City Council, said the council shouldn’t even be considering the application at all.

She said: “It is the junction opposite the Boot and Shoe that really worries me. It is dangerous, people don’t always know what to do in terms of whose right of way it is. If I can avoid that junction I will. This development is not in a good place, the recommended access is appalling, we shouldn’t even be considering this.”

The developers proposed that 40% of the homes would have been affordable housing – half rented and half shared ownership.

As part of their application, Story Homes also offered to pay towards a £135,000 surfacing of the canal towpath and help pay for a bus service in the area as the current Lancaster to Knott End service is expected to end or have a vastly reduced service due to Lancashire County Council subsidy cuts.

But Coun James Leyshon said the developer’s report was “deeply flawed”.

Coun James Leyshon said: “The one thing that is good about this application is the affordable housing which we would welcome in any application. This particular development is unsustainable and the traffic report produced, I feel, is deeply flawed.

“They say impact will not be severe, I find that flabbergasting. Anyone who travels in that junction will know that is an absolutely ridiculous notion.

“The site may need to be looked at in later years as part of a wider project.”

A spokesman for Story Homes said: “We are disappointed that Lancaster City Council’s Planning and Development Committee has decided not to support our plans for new homes on this site in Lancaster. Our proposals would have provided much needed housing, including affordable housing for local people.

“The proposal would also have provided economic benefits and employment opportunities for local contractors, with knock-on benefits for local supply chains and other local businesses and services. Going forward Story Homes will consider its options in respect of the development proposals for Lancaster.”