‘People power’ bid to halt more Garstang homes plans

Newly-lodged plans for more housing estates near Garstang have attracted attention from protesters already trying to halt the rural Wyre building boom.

Wednesday, 25th November 2015, 6:57 am

The past week has seen plans which, if approved, would see up to 144 homes built at Bowgreave, south of Garstang.

The latest plans are on sites at Garstang Golf Club, for up to 95 homes, and agricultural land off Calder House Lane, up to 49 homes, close to the site of several recently built and pending new estates.

Bowgreave residents are already fighting a scheme for 32 homes on Garstang Road, immediately south of Garstang Academy. This summer, their objections failed to halt Wyre Council approving 30 homes at Bowgreave House Farm, Garstang Road.

The two new planning applications at Garstang Golf Club and Calder House Lane, look set to add to the on-going housing land controversy in Garstang and the district.

The plans for the Golf Club, submitted by Baxter Homes and Garstang Country Hotel and Golf Club, show up to 95 homes on the club’s current driving range. A report accompanying the plans says changes are needed at the course to boost business at the golf club, including revamping the course as a 9-hole rather than the current 18-hole.

The report adds: “Without a new direction the business will not progress or expand to enable it to maintain a viable business and community attraction.”

Baxter Homes and Garstang Golf Club, in their application, reveal they have been told by Wyre that “given that the council is currently unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land, the residential development of the site would make a valuable contribution towards meeting the borough’s housing requirement.“

David Walker, a spokesman for Baxter Homes, said the local authority couldn’t demonstrate a five-year land supply and said: “We think the golf driving range is a particularly sustainable site for residential development.

“We have already got consent on the land next door for 30 homes, that’s the adjacent field, and this is just a natural extension of that.

“It’s already a developed site and golf as a sport and leisure activity is changing and the facilities have now become almost obsolete.

“Part of the scheme involves redeveloping the golf course with better facilities that are very family orientated.

“The problem is people don’t want change. It doesn’t matter where the application is going, they all get objected to.”

He said objection letters had raised concerns about highways issues and flooding.

He said: “We’ve developed a drainage scheme which meets the requirements of the local authority drainage officer.

“The highways issues aren’t issues, we’ve got a clear access to the driving range on an existing adopted highway and, unless the Lancashire County Council highways officer has objections, there won’t be any.”

The 49-home application for Calder House Lane has been lodged by Property Capital Ltd and Carrick Sports.

Calder House Lane resident Claire McShannon, whose large Victorian home, Calder House, will be opposite the development, said a meeting to discuss the plans is to be held tonight (Wednesday) at her home at 7.30pm.

The developer was contacted for a comment but did not respond by deadline.

Planning policy in rural Wyre has become a huge issue over the past two years, with the borough council’s lack of a blueprint local plan being highlighted.

Wyre recently rejected the largest local homes/commercial estate - dubbed “Nateby New Town” by critics - which would have seen up to 270 homes built west of Garstang. The rejection by councillors of the application by J Chippendale Ltd was against planning officers’ advice.

The biggest recent housing approvals has been for two sites off Kepple Lane, Garstang, for a total of around 200 homes. In October, Wyre backed plans for 200 homes at Joe Lane, Catterall /Claughton.

The building rush in Garstang is being opposed by the Garstang under Threat (GuT) group which has set up a Facebook page to monitor and comment on planning issues.

In a comment on the GuT Facebook page responding to the latest applications, Garstang County Coun Sandra Perkins, who is also a Garstang town councillor, urged residents opposed to the plans to write to Wyre councillors and planning chief David Thow.

Coun Perkins said: “People should bombard Wyre Borough councillors with objections. They are the ones who represent us regarding planning. People power has been shown to work in others areas, why not here?”