Plans submitted for 70 new homes on Lancaster farmland

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Plans for up to 70 homes to be built on farmland near Lancaster city centre have been met with objections by residents concerned that a popular canalside space will be lost.

Applicant WVC Lancaster Limited has submitted the proposals to the city council for land north of Ashford House in Ashton Road .

The development would include public open space and associated infrastructure and the creation of a new access road.

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It is believed the scheme would "considerably add to the supply of housing" in the city, and provide more benefits than the previously refused proposals for two holiday lets or a single property at the site.

An artist's impression of how part of the development might look.An artist's impression of how part of the development might look.
An artist's impression of how part of the development might look.

Part of the 3.55 hectare site is considered to be previously developed land with a horse boarding stable, paddock, arena, and associated access. The remainder of the site consists of agricultural land.

The homes would be split between 25% first homes, 37.5% shared ownership and 37.5% affordable rented in accordance with guidelines.

However, the city council is seeking to amend the policy to reflect the current split for affordable sale and rented homes - the proposed split is 25% first homes, 25% shared ownership and 50% affordable rented.

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Housing would be a mix of two, three and four-bedroom, as well as bungalows and apartments.

The site is in a sustainable location that is accessible with different modes of travels, the applicants say.

With improvements to the road next to the site, they say a safe and attractive link could be provided to the canal towpath.

However, the towpath provides a useful ‘leisure’ route to the city centre but is not lit and should not be seen as a primary route to the city centre.

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There are several on-road and traffic cycle routes in the immediate vicinity of the site.

A travel assessment confirmed that the development would not have significant effect on highway safety.

Residents have lodged concerns with the city council, particularly over the high number of plans for new houses in the area and the subsequent impact on traffic.

They have also highlighted the dangers for cyclists along the route, as well as the detrimental effect the plans could have on people's enjoyment of the popular canal path.

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Concern has also been raised about the detrimental effect on wildlife in the area.

One resident said: "This area is integral to our Lancaster heritage. The canal and British Waterways area of natural beauty should be maintained and unspoiled for the support of wildlife and birds and for the enjoyment of everyone in Lancaster and visitors to Lancaster.

"Already there are thousands of houses being considered for south Lancaster. The development onto the canal corridor is totally unnecessary."

Another said: "I object to this proposed housing development because it would result in loss of space for and increased human pressure on nature and wildlife; as well as reducing the wellbeing benefit for existing residents using local green spaces."

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The Lancaster Group of the Ramblers Association has also objected to the application.

They said: "This is a popular and well used stretch of the canal which is easily accessible by many people.

"The site is one of the few with an outlook which is rural in appearance and not fringed with developments or trees. It would make an ideal open space."