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Monday, 04 February 2013 (3034991)
50 new homes planned for village
by David Simister

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build dozens of new homes in Rufford are due to be discussed by West Lancashire councillors at a meeting tomorrow night (February 7).

Members of the borough council are expected to decide whether to grant outline planning permission to a bid to build 51 new houses on a field at the junction of Sluice Lane and New Road, which more than 70 of the village's residents and the parish council have voiced their objections.

Among the 77 residents who have submitted representations to the local authority's planning department was Brick Kiln Lane resident John Holland, who said: “This development of what will be expensive properties for sale offers little to the existing population of Rufford village where house prices exclude most young people from being able to remain in the village, and which could best be solved by the provision of social housing.

”I consider that a development of this size is unsuitable for the area, and not sustainable in a village with few facilities.“

Pauline Bannister, of Thornton Close, argued the new development would overstretch Rufford's facilities, and told the council: ”Rufford is a beautiful, small village comprising of a small village school, which is already oversubscribed, a church, petrol station, pub, a pre-school and two marinas.

“Adding 51 new houses to our village would overstretch the school completely, and the the traffic impact would cause issues, as would the additional noise and disturbance.

”I also feeling adding 51 houses to a conservation area would not be appropriate - that aside the proposed area is based upon agricultural land.

“I strongly object to these plans and feel adding 51 new houses would change the nature of the village, which would strongly impact upon our community.”

A statement submitted to the council on behalf of the applicants pointed out that the site is currently in a run-down condition, and that is surrounded by existing residential developments in Rufford.

“The proposed development is compliant with local and national planning policies on specific design related issues. The proposals meet a high standard of design and accessibility.

”The design of the scheme has resulted in a development that will reflect the character of the area, whilst also being able to emit a character of its own.

The planning committee has been recommended not to object to the proposals, with the final decision going to borough planner Jonathan Harrison, who has said the council's natural presumption is in favour of sustainable development and that the principles of the scheme are “acceptable”.

In his report on the proposals, he writes: “The applicant has demonstrated that the site can accommodate a

residential development which will cause no significant harm to the character of the local area or the adjacent conservation area and will have no impact on the amenities of local residents subject to further consideration at the reserved matters stage.

”The proposal has been accompanied by what is considered to be a suitable drainage scheme and mitigation measures can be implemented to ensure that the proposal has no adverse impact on ecology/biodiversity on the site.“

The issue is due to be discussed at tomorrow night's planning committee meeting, which begins at 7.30pm at the borough council's headquarters in Ormskirk.


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