Controversial Carnforth housing plans given green light

Controversial plans to build up to 158 homes on farmland in Carnforth have been given the go-ahead.

Monday, 6th March 2017, 3:33 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:22 am
The housing site in Carnforth

Residents at a planning and highways meeting on Monday reacted angrily as councillors voted in favour of an outline development on land between Brewers Barn and the A601 (M) at Carnforth Brow.

If the development goes ahead, the A601 (M) will have its motorway designation removed, and a new roundabout, estimated to cost £1.75m will be the main access to the site. More than 85 letters of objection were received by Lancaster City Council, with grievances including inappropriate and unsustainable location and access, an increase in traffic along North Road and Carnforth in general, public safety, flood risk, and a lack of consultation.

Former city councillor Stuart Langhorn, who lives in Whernside Grove, which borders the site, said: “People have the right to a decent quality of life. You’re not providing that if you approve this application.”

The development site in Carnforth

Concern was also raised about electricity power lines and a high powered underground gas main crossing the site. Conditions on the planning approval mean that the development cannot go ahead until the A601 (M) has its motorway designation removed, and a new roundabout is put into place to access the site.

An independent report commissioned by the city council was posted on its website, but was taken down two days later.

Planning officer Andrew Drummond said the confidential document, which stated that the development wasn’t a viable proposition, was posted on the council’s website in error.

Councillors were also told that the site is more than double the recommended distance to public transport - 920m instead of the recommended 400m. In addition to this, the usual 40 per cent affordable housing premise was reduced to 30 per cent to make the scheme viable.

The development site in Carnforth

Coun Peter Yates said it was a “complete no-no” to put more traffic onto North Road, which already suffers from congestion, and that the suggestion that people could use the canal towpath to access services in Carnforth was “bordering on ludicrous”.

Council leader Eileen Blamire said this was one of the most difficult applications the committee had dealt with.

She added: “I was very much minded to vote against this, but I can’t find any planning reasons to do this.

“I hope residents understand how difficult it is for everyone sitting here.”

Councillors voted nine in favour, with four against, and five abstentions.