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Tuesday, 14 February 2012 (3023458)
'Council won't let me build affordablehomes onmy field'
by David Simister

A ROBY Mill man has called on the council to help meet its own housing targets by allowing houses to built on an acre of green belt land he owns.

Gerald Lathom, of Ayrefield Road, believes an unused one-acre patch of land, which was originally envisaged as part of an affordable housing development, would be perfect for helping the local authority to meet future demand for new homes.

But says the council has repeatedly refused his requests for planning permission because the site is now considered green belt land.

He said: “I've applied for permission to develop on the land, but the council always tur it down because they say it would involve building on the green belt.

”Now, though, the council are actively looking at releasing parts of the green belt as part of the Local Plan. So why don't they build on a bit of land that was originally intended for housing in the first place?“

”This land is crying out for development while other parts of the green belt elsewhere in West Lancashire are a lot less suitable. I just don't know why the council can't take another look at this particular site.“

Mr Lathom told The Champion that a row of affordable houses were built in the 1930s, and provisions were made for the field to be developed into more homes, but the outbreak of the Second World War prevented any more building taking place.

After the war, the district council chose to incorporate his field into the West Lancashire green belt land, and as a result several applications to reallow development on the field have been rebuffed.

He argued that as many as a dozen affordable homes could be built on the site, helping to allievate pressure on green belt land in other parts of West Lancashire.

The borough council said that while it was aware of the land's potential for future housing, it argued that its relative remoteness and the fact Roby Mill is entirely within the green belt meant it would not consider it for development.

A spokesperson for the local authority said: ”The council is aware of this site and it was considered through the Council’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment document.

“Ultimately, the site is in a remote location and the village of Roby Mill is wholly within the Green Belt. Therefore, it is inappropriate to release this site from the Green Belt in isolation.

”However, the council’s proposed Local Plan policies on affordable housing do allow for very limited affordable housing development (no more than for dwellings) on a site in the Green Belt if there is a demonstrable local need for affordable housing and there are no other, more appropriate, sites in the locality. We would advise that the gentleman in question contact the planning department for further information.“


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