Residents in Euxton will see a further strain on local services after a government-appointed planning inspector allowed an appeal for dozens of new homes in a picturesque part of the village.
Bosses at Chorley Council have expressed their disappointment at the decision with a drive to see more and more houses built seemingly an example of what they believe is a move to take away local control on planning matters.
The decision comes after Chorley Council refused the application last November stating that it already had a five-year supply of housing and that the site was allocated as ‘safeguarded land’ so should not be brought forward for development now.
Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “It’s an extremely disappointing decision from our point of view as the borough has more than done its fair share of housebuilding over the last few years and it seems we are being punished for hitting the targets set by government.
“In part I feel this decision has been made in light of the government’s clear commitment to see more houses built, which has been re-emphasised in the last few months, when the focus should have been getting a fit for purpose track and trace system in place, not adding to the worries of local residents.
“It goes back to the heart of everything we do and while the Government keeps saying it wants decisions to be taken locally it seems they are intent on taking away local control.
“The latest consultation they have announced on planning matters seems to do just that and this is a classic example of where we are being dictated to by people who do not know what is best for the borough and it is eroding local democracy.”
The appeal, made by applicant Gladman, was heard during the pandemic with the hearing being held virtually.
The planning inspector did say the council’s case for defending the appeal had merit and stated that a significant increase in housing targets for the borough, which was what was used to calculate the five-year supply would be a significant shift away from what was expected.
“To some extent the inspector may feel their hands were tied as having been the only borough to consistently hit targets for housebuilding in Lancashire the figures used to calculate what is deemed a five-year supply in this case were inflated significantly for Chorley and go against what we expect to be set as we work on a joint plan for Central Lancashire,” said Councillor Bradley.
“It seems that the message from central Government is that any land that may be suitable for housing is fair game and local communities may have to put up with extra strain on local services without having the necessary investment in infrastructure in place.
“I appreciate we do need more housing – and we’ve certainly been doing our bit – but this decision is extremely worrying for communities like Euxton up and down the country and is further eroding our quality of life at the hands of wealthy developers.”