Fresh bid at old stink plant site

Barratt Homes are hoping to build 128 houses on the Nightingale Hall Farm site.
Barratt Homes are hoping to build 128 houses on the Nightingale Hall Farm site.

A 128-house development could be built on the former Nightingale Hall Farm site in Lancaster.

The controversial animal rendering plant in Quernmore Road closed following a fire in 2005 and Barratt Homes now hope to build the scheme of two, three and four bedroom homes – including 28 affordable units – on the site and adjacent greenfield land.

The proposals include the provision of public open space on the site.

Planning officers have recommended the scheme be approved when the city council’s planning committee meets on Wednesday.

The land is allocated as a Housing Opportunity Site in the Local Plan.

The site was subject to various applications over the years when its previous use was in operation.

The animal rendering plant closed in 2005 and has since been cleared and laid vacant, although there was an unauthorised intervening use as a timber recycling centre in 2008/09.

Although access to the site would only come from the existing route off Quernmore Road, improvements are proposed at the junction to give priority to the development instead of the nearby cemetery.

A new access would also be provided into the cemetery.

The application proposes a potential connection for pedestrians and cyclists from the site via the allotments onto Derwent Road.

Barratt Homes have provided a viability appraisal with the application to demonstrate what level of planning obligations and contributions the development can reasonably support.

Currently agreed are £70,000 towards cycle/pedestrian improvements from the site to Derwent Road, a £71,283 education contribution to support six primary school places, and £4,200 towards the povision of a school drop-off and pick-up access from the site to the adjacent school.

In addition, measures to be secured by condition are equivalent to £22,500 to provide off-site highway works, and provision of a public open space and play equipment to be provided and maintained by the developer.

The council has received 11 letters from local residents objecting to the scheme.

Reasons include an increase in traffic, pedestrian safety along Derwent Road, a lack of adequate bus services, a loss of green space, impacts on privacy and doubts over the need for new housing.

Representations have also been received from the Lancaster Royal Grammar School (LRGS) and the Highfield Regeneration Project.

LRGS have concerns over traffic and pedestrian safety at the crossroads next to the school grounds and concerns of flooding of the adjacent playing fields due to proposals to discharge to adjacent watercourse.

Comments received from the Highfield Regeneration Project don’t raise objections to the principle of the development but state they are disappointed by the failure to secure connections from the site to the recreation grounds.

A letter in support of the scheme was sent to the council, but it also raised concerns over the lack of connections from the site to nearby schools.