Village wins battle against developers

The land in Grimsargh
The land in Grimsargh

A village has won a major battle against developers.

Parish and city councillors, city council officials, residents and an MP united as one in the fight to retain the rural identity of Grimsargh and are now celebrating after an inspector dismissed the latest challenge by strategic land specialists, Hallam Land Management, to build up to 100 houses on the outskirts of the village, on appeal.

This was the second failed appeal made by the Sheffield based company in its bid to obtain planning permission for large scale housing on land north of the Hills at Grimsargh, after Preston City Council refused both sets of plans, and the company has also previously failed in a high court challenge.

Parish council chairman, Coun Eileen Murray said: “We are, obviously, absolutely delighted. Grimsargh Parish Council firmly believes that this particular development on this site, represented a severe threat to the very identity of Grimsargh as a village.

“We thank all the residents who put in the time to write in with their objections and have given us wonderful supportive feedback throughout. We are also grateful to the city planning officers who put up robust defences in the face of stringent cross-examination by the Hallam barrister during the hearing.

“The support of our local MP and city councillors has also all come together to show a united and robust opposition to this development.

“I sincerely hope that, after two planning applications refusals, two dismissed appeals and a failed High Court challenge, this now sees the end of this threat.”

While planning inspector Alison Lea said Hallam’s plans would deliver a number of “significent benefits” for the village, she said they would not meet the “environmental and social aims of maintaining an area of separation between Preston and Grimsargh” in order to protect the “identity and distinctiveness” of the village required by recently adopted policy.

She said: “This separation is clearly of great importance to the residents of Grimsargh, who are supported by their MP, Ben Wallace and by the parish council.”

While she accepted the “harm” of the proposed development would be less than that of the company’s previous failed plans for 143 homes and the housing shortfall appeared to be greater than when that appeal was determined, she said: “Nevertheless, in my opinion, the harm which would be caused to the objective of maintaining an effective Area of Separation between Grimsargh and Preston outweighs the significant benefit of providing both market and affordable housing and the other benefits identified.

“Accordingly I conclude that the appeal should be dismissed.”