Changes to new Carnforth housing development recommended for approval by planning officers

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Developers are seeking to make housing and landscaping changes to a new 213-home residential development in Carnforth which already has outline planning permission.

Rowland Homes Ltd has requested several changes to the approved application for the site in Scotland Road - on farmland to the north of Carnforth - mainly focussed on house type and layout, and landscaping.

Carnforth Town Council has objected to the new proposals on the basis that the proposed housing mix and tenure split will not meet the longer-term housing need in the town.

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It also has concerns that with the shift to larger detached units, "the claim that the extent of build-up area and green space is unchanged needs to be substantiated".

The site in Scotland Road, Carnforth.The site in Scotland Road, Carnforth.
The site in Scotland Road, Carnforth.

It also has safety concerns over the cycle/pedestrian access onto Netherbeck/Carnforth Brow.

Arnside and Silverdale AONB has also noted that the extent and number of trees have been altered and reduced.

The AONB Partnership recommends that the proposed tree copses are expanded and additional sites included across the housing site to help reduce the visual impact on the AONB.

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"The whole site should represent a natural, native woodland appearance and planting along Scotland Road should be at suitable height to provide good screening," it said.

The southern edge of the site, opposite Travellers Choice on the A6.The southern edge of the site, opposite Travellers Choice on the A6.
The southern edge of the site, opposite Travellers Choice on the A6.

Lancaster City Council's planning department said the amendments are largely a result of necessary engineering works (earthworks) to deliver suitable development platforms to enable efficient "buildability" and to maintain development viability.

A report, which is due to go before the planning committee on April 26, said: "Such issues were unknown at the outline stage.

"The proposals also comprise changes to the mix of dwelling types, housing layout and dwelling orientations, the location of some open space, removal of existing landscape features, alterations to the drainage basins and pumping station location and rationalisation of public paths through the open space."

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The new application shows a greater number of larger, detached homes, and a reduction in the number of mews/semi detached and two bedroom houses.

The new proposals also result in the loss of eight trees, 286m of overgrown "lapsed" hedgerow - which is described as a strong feature and "visually attractive" - and 364m of current hedgerow.

Planning officers noted: "The proposed mitigation for hedgerow loss includes approximately 2,107m of new native hedgerow planting – this is a net gain of 1,957m of hedgerow.

"It is acknowledged that the new hedgerow planting will be more fragmented than the hedgerows lost due to the nature and layout of the development.

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"Hedgerow planting is largely limited to the edges and within the developable area.

"No additional hedgerow planting is proposed within the wetland bird conservation area proposed in the northern section of the site as it is important to maintain the openness of the coastal floodplain grazing marsh habitat."

The report goes on to say: "The ecological implications associated with the redevelopment of the site were considered potentially significant at the original pre-application stage and when considering the original outline planning application.

"This was on the basis that the site supports priority habitat (Coastal Floodplain Grazing Marsh), forms part of a wider Nature Improvement Area and is relatively close to the European conservation sites associated with Morecambe Bay.

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"Coastal Floodplain Grazing Marsh can be important habitat for wader birds and therefore provides the potential to be considered functionally linked land to the designated sites of Morecambe Bay.

"The original assessment concluded that the proposed development would not significantly adversely affect nature conservation interests subject to mitigation.

"The changes proposed as part of this Section 73 application do not fundamentally alter this position despite the scheme resulting in a further loss of trees and hedgerows.

"The development still caters for a significant amount of landscaping and retains the wetland nature conservation areas to the north.

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"Additional replacement planting is proposed as a consequence of the additional hedgerow loss together with amendments to the planting typologies to service more native species across the development.

"Overall and subject to securing the proposed mitigation and enhancement measures, the proposed development is not considered to adversely affect the integrity of the nearby nature conservation sites, nor adversely affect protected species or habitats and would deliver a genuine net gain in biodiversity."

Officers have recommended the new proposals for approval, and councillors will decide whether to back this position at the meeting.