New housing plan for district gets unanimous council support

Coun Janice Hanson.
Coun Janice Hanson.
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Plans to build 13,000 new homes across the district will now go before the public after councillors backed the blueprint.

The new ‘Local Plan’ will go out to public consultation after councillors voted unanimously to send it forward to the next stage of scrutiny at a meeting at Morecambe Town Hall.

Coun Tim Hamilton-Cox.

Coun Tim Hamilton-Cox.

The plan identifies four major sites for future house building – including up to 3,500 homes at a new ‘garden village’ at Bailrigg in Lancaster.

A new development of 1,000 new homes at Cuckoo Farm between Ridge Lea and Lancaster Farms Prison is also being taken forward, as well as 500 properties on greenbelt land south of Windermere Road, Carnforth, and 1,000 north of Beaumont and Skerton, between the Bay Gateway and Halton Road.

Smaller developments, including 195 houses east of Williamson Park, will make up the rest of the 13,000 new properties the council says it needs so that people can “find work and have a decent home” over the next 20 years.

The public consultation period, provisionally, will run from January 27 to March 24 2017.

Lancaster city councillors met for talks about the Local Plan on Wednesday night.

Work first began on putting the plan together in 2011.

It includes a Land Allocations Document identifying land for house building.

The Bailrigg Garden Village would be on land at Whinney Carr and Burrow Heights, Bailrigg Lane and Lancaster University. It would include a new Health Innovation Campus at the university which has already received planning consent.

Junction 33 of the M6 would be remodelled as part of the development.

This revamped junction would allow direct motorway access to the south Lancaster area, bypassing Galgate.

Coun Janice Hanson, deputy leader of Lancaster City Council, warned her fellow councillors that there was “a real risk of government intervention” if the plan was not progressed to the next stage.

Following a public consultation last autumn, planners decided not to move forward with proposals for new developments between Bolton-le-Sands and Slyne-with-Hest, which villagers dubbed “Bolton-le-Slyne”.

Malcolm Thomas, a Bolton and Slyne councillor, said at the meeting he would “enthusiastically” back the revised blueprint.

Plans to build on greenbelt land east of Torrisholme Barrow, and on land east of the M6, south east of Halton, have also been shelved, as has a major housing development in Dolphinholme. There is no set timescale as yet for the development of these sites.

A survey by consultants Turley Associates found there will be a 9,600 jobs rise in the Lancaster district between 2011 and 2031 – which means a need for more houses.

Tim Hamilton-Cox, a Green councillor for Bulk ward, voted to progress the plan but said: “The points of contention are how many houses to plan for and in which locations.

“The figure of 13-14,000 is too high.”

Coun Hanson replied: “Tim, I’m going to be nice to you as it’s Christmas.

“We challenged the evidence and it came back sound. You don’t like the answers, that’s the problem.

“We’ve only skirted around the edges of the greenbelt. This plan will mean new jobs and new homes. What’s wrong with that? It’s been examined, it’s been done to death.”

There was a ripple of applause around the town hall chamber after councillors voted unanimously to send the plan forward to the next stage.

After the public have their say, another report will go before council before the document is formally published. The Government will then examine the plan.

The document may come into force in late 2018.