Housing plans cause headache for Lune Valley village

The proposed site for 70 new homes off Kirkby Lonsdale Road in Halton.
The proposed site for 70 new homes off Kirkby Lonsdale Road in Halton.

Plans to build more than 60 new houses in Halton have been met with objections and criticism from residents and the village school.

Lancaster City Council has recommended approval for the development of 66 homes on fields to the rear of Pointer Grove and adjacent to High Road.

Halton Parish Council has objected on the grounds that it is an inappropriate and unwanted extension to the village, it is not in keeping with existing buildings, and there are issues with surface water drainage.

The county council had asked for a contribution of £199,042 for the provision of 14 extra primary school places as part of the planning agreement, but governors at St Wilfrid’s Primary School say it is already over-subscribed and does not have the capacity to take any more children.

The funding would not be available for places at other nearby schools.

A Lancashire County Council spokeswoman explained: “Right from the outset we have to name a school.

“At that point we would not have done a scoping exercise, and we can only do a best estimate, and that’s what the planning authority needs.

“By the time it comes to delivery, the school may not be able to provide those places, and you can’t change the named school.”

The money therefore would not be available for extra school places, due to strict community infrastructure levy regulations. The spokeswoman said the regulations were “frustrating”.

Mary Stoneham, chair of governors at the school said: “The Governing Body objected to the application because we do not have sufficient capacity at the school. We have not been party to any financial discussions between the developer and Lancashire County Council.”

The development, proposed by Russell Armer Homes, is a mixture of detached, semi-detached, townhouses, terraces and apartments, 26 of which will be “affordable”.

The application generated 68 letters of objection, which mirrored the concerns of the parish council, but also includes traffic and highways issues and that initial planning policy stated the site could only hold 35 properties.

Lancaster city councillors will make a decision at a planning meeting on July 24.

The city council’s own report said there would be “a harmful effect on the character and appearance of the area”, but that the delivery of affordable and market homes outweighs the negatives associated with the landscape impact.