A Neighbourhood Plan for a Lancaster district village will provide “a genuine voice for local need” and help stop over-development of greenfield land, a campaign group has said.
Halton-with-Aughton Parish Council has submitted the plan following a recent similar application from Wray Parish Council.
We need small, sensitive developments built by local builders
Campaign group Halt on Housing said it had asked Halton Parish Council to submit the plan out of concern about housing development on a number of sites in the village.
The group says the sites include applications for 60 houses to the rear of the Forgewood Estate, 20 homes and a residential home on brownfield next to Halton Mill, 21 new houses next to Town End Farm, and a field off Arrow Lane that has been put forward for development by the owner.
The plan gives communities the chance to decide where new development should be and what it should look like - for example, new homes, shops and offices.
If approved, a neighbourhood plan forms part of the district’s Local Plan and is used to help make decisions on planning applications.
Mr Hartley, a member of the group who lives on the Forgewood Estate, said that the government and large national builders were putting pressure on local councils to develop on greenfield land.
He said: “We need Neighbourhood Plans drawn up by Parish Councils to reflect local need.
“We need small, sensitive developments built by local builders and tradesmen so the skills and the money stays in the local area.
“The process of getting the Neighbourhood plan is complicated, requires organisation, application for funding, etc however it provides a genuine voice for local need.
“There is a vote at the end of the process for all residents. This ensures local need is prioritised not profit.
“Developers rely on the fact that the average man on the street is too busy, doesn’t understand the process or doesn’t feel they have a voice.
“That way we are steam rollered by their profit driven, expert, ‘professional’ practice. What people can do is write to their councillor of whatever their persuasion to encourage local need over developers greed. They can write and object about large greenfield sites being unsustainable.”
Paul Woodruff, city councillor for Halton, said: “We’ve had a lot of development here in Halton, and I’m not keen on the extension of the Parish boundaries.
“The army camp would be a better site for development as it’s a brownfield site. This plan might be rather too late for the development above Forgewood, however longer term it will be most advantageous for us to have one in place.
“It has a lot more strength than a Parish Plan in terms of planning applications.”
Lancaster City Council will consult on the plan until April 20 before making a decision.
The application can be viewed and commented on via the city council’s planning policy consultation web page.Copies will also be available to view in The Centre@Halton, the library in Pennystone Road and the noticeboard near the High Road shops.