Angry residents say homes decision ‘severely flawed’

Plans were granted for a new development behind the Forgewood Estate (pictured)
Plans were granted for a new development behind the Forgewood Estate (pictured)

A Halton resident claims a recently granted planning application for new homes in the village was “unlawful and unreasonable”.

Plans for 60 new homes overlooking the Forgewood estate were given the go-ahead by Lancaster City Council’s planning committee last month, but angry residents say the decision made to approve the application was severely flawed.

Forgewood resident Sarah MacIntosh has instructed a solicitor to write to Lancaster City Council under a “Pre-Action Protocol”, and is currently waiting for a response.

Sarah said the grounds for the legal action include the manner in which the application was presented to the Planning and Highways Committee with misleading and inaccurate information, concerns over the content of the planning department’s EIA Screening Opinion, and the reasons stated by planning committee chair Coun Roger Sherlock, when he used his casting vote to decide the application.

She is now considering whether to apply for a Judicial Review.

She said: “The application, as presented to the committee, was incorrect.

The indicative layout spent a lot of time being projected on the screens during the meeting. It is a diagram that shows how the houses for the development might be laid out. The one used for this application contained 52 properties, not the 60 that the application asked for.

“It was also missing the central amenity space required by the Public Realm Officer in consultation.”

Sarah said there were other missing aspects, including a “buffer” area around the site designed to keep the two estates seperate and improve privacy.

She added: “Importantly, when presenting the application at the meeting, the planning officer did not advise the committee that the indicative layout they were studying misrepresented the quantum of development.”

Sarah said the reason Coun Sherlock gave when casting his deciding vote on the matter “that any appeal could cost the council a lot of money” constituted an immaterial consideration in the decision-making process.

Mark Cullinan, Lancaster City Council’s chief executive, said: “Government guidance is that a Pre-Action Protocol should normally be responded to within 14 days. The council can confirm that it will be responding within these timescales...”