Victory for residents as Luneside East trees saved

Luneside East, which is being demolished to make way for new development
Luneside East, which is being demolished to make way for new development

Residents near the Luneside East development in Lancaster are celebrating a victory for the environment and local community after developers changed their plans to save a tree-lined embankment.

Persimmon Homes have altered their proposals to now retain the former railway embankment, which was under threat of demolition.

As well as ensuring the future of this swathe of trees and its bird and animal life, the retention of the embankment means there will be no housing fronting onto Long Marsh Lane and so no direct vehicular access from the site onto the lane which is currently well used by cyclists and pedestrians.

The revised plans are much nearer to those originally viewed by residents over the last 16 years at public consultations, with the only access on this side of the site being a cycle and pedestrian link.

The number of planned houses has also been scaled back from 170 to 149.

Julia Russell, a Long Marsh Lane resident, said: “This is a victory for the environment, the voice of the local community and common sense.

“These mature trees are visible from a great distance away; they create a tranquil green oasis in what is fast becoming a very built-up area of Lancaster.

“The trees provide pleasure and promote the well-being of local people and will serve to enhance the look and value of the site, so leaving them in situ is a win-win for the local community and the developer.”

Local residents have approached the landowner, Luneside East Ltd, and the developer, Persimmon Homes, as well as city council planning officers, with an offer to form a local residents’ organisation to provide proper woodland management of the tree-lined embankment and with ideas to turn the strip of land bordering Long Marsh Lane into accessible green space.

Local resident Karena Kyne said: “The local community joined forces to campaign to keep these trees and now we want to safeguard them for future generations.

“We feel very strongly that this pocket of land remains a green space as no other public open space or park is being provided within the development.”

Andy Pepper, planning and strategic manager at Persimmon Homes Lancashire, said: “Following concerns expressed by some residents, we have revised our original layout in order to retain the trees and embankment on the southern boundary of the site.

“We anticipate that the application will be presented to Lancaster City Council planning committee later this month.”

The planning application can be viewed on the Lancaster City Council website, reference 13/01200/FUL and comments can be made until tomorrow, June 7.

It is expected that the planning application will go before the city council’s planning and highways committee on June 23.