2,100 new homes planned for Lancaster

Agricultural land south of Ashford Road and Scotforth Cemetery, between the railway line and Lancaster Canal, which has been earmarked for a new housing estate.
Agricultural land south of Ashford Road and Scotforth Cemetery, between the railway line and Lancaster Canal, which has been earmarked for a new housing estate.

MORE than 2,000 new homes are planned for greenfield sites around Lancaster.

If adopted, the city council’s Land Allocations Development Plan would see the first expansion of the urban settlement of Lancaster for a generation, creating more “urban sprawl” to the south and east of the city.

Councillors were due to decide whether to back the proposals at a council meeting last night.

Draft plans show that 900 new homes could be built at Whinney Carr, on land between the West Coast Main Line and Lancaster Canal, south of Ashford Road and Scotforth Cemetery.

The proposals include a link road between Scotforth Road and Ashton Road, in order to ease traffic issues. A further 750 homes have been earmarked for land off Bailrigg, to the north of Lancaster University, with access from the A6 via the proposed new science park, and a northern access across Burrow Beck, which is a Biological Heritage Site.

A third site has been identified for 400 to 450 new homes off Grab Lane, between the Ashton Memorial and the M6 motorway.

Coun Chris Coates for Scotforth West said the council had over-estimated the demand for new private housing.

He said: “The fact that houses are difficult to sell seems ample evidence of this.

“I don’t agree with the vast proposed expansion of housing in the south of the city.

“Not only are these unneccessary, but they will also mean that brownfield sites such as the Moor Hospital and Luneside won’t get developed.

“These greenfield housing changes will have a massive impact on our city for years to come and will change the current compact Lancaster into an urban sprawl.”

The city council has a target of building 400 new homes a year, equating to 6,000 over the next 15 years.

But Maurice Brophy, Lancaster City Council’s planning and housing policy manager, said: “The council has not been made aware of any information which suggests that it has over-estimated the community’s housing needs.

“On the contrary, in 2011 the council commissioned external consultants, David Couttie Associates, to undertake a housing needs study who concluded that the need for new housing was more than double the number that the council is planning to see delivered.”

Carlisle-based Story Homes is interested in developing the greenfield site at Grab Lane, while Brentwood based Countryside Homes is interested in developing the Whinney Carr site.

Savills, who represent the owners of the Bailrigg Site, are working to secure an agreement with another national house builder.

Alan Dick, who lives in Bailrigg Lane, said: “Residents of Bailrigg are opposed to the proposals for the development and have raised the matter with our MP and with the Chair of Scotforth Parish Council – both of whom are keeping the proposals under review.”

Public consultation into these draft preferred options for new housing is expected to start on August 28 until October 19, and the plans will be submitted to the secretary of state in summer 2013, with a public examination due in winter 2013.

Councillors were due to vote yesterday, Wednesday, on whether the council should publish and consult on the housing plans for Lancaster as well as an an Area Action Plan for Morecambe (MAAP), and a development management document focusing on the Canal Corridor, Lancaster University’s science park, and the economic growth of the Port of Heysham.

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