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Thursday, 21 February 2013 (3035628)
Yew Tree Farm homes proposal 'right and proper' say developers
by David Simister

DEVELOPERS have told an independent hearing into proposals to build hundreds of new homes on green belt land in Burscough that while the village is surrounded by countryside, “it does not have any distinguishing features which should constrain development.”

Representatives from Crompton Developments, who are keen to build homes on the Yew Tree Farm site joined members of Burscough Action Group, parish and borough councillors, and other organisations at the examination hearing.

It was hosted by the government's Planning Inspectorate representative Roger Clews into proposals by West Lancashire Borough Council to allow 500 new homes to be built to meet fuure housing demand.

Michelle Blair, speaking on behalf of Burscough Action Group told the hearing that the scale of the development was not justified by the local need and was not appropriate to the scale of the village.

The hearing, which also addressed the impact on drainage and traffic, is one of a series of examinations being held into the West Lancashire Local Plan and whether the borough council needs to revise it.

Burscough West borough councillor Cynthia Dereli, told Mr Clews that while the council saw it as land surrounded by existing housing, residents see it as “seperating Burscough from the industrial estate, which is one of the important functions it has a green belt land.”

He added: “There are other sites in West Lancashire which could be used for new homes without releasing 74 hectares of green belt and prime agricultural land.”

Burscough East borough councillor Roger Bell, however, back the council's plans, saying he did not think the development will affect the character of the town.

He said: “Burscough has grown considerably and will continue to do so, and this plan is all about managing that growth.

”By using this area for development, which is one you would naturally select if you had to release green belt land, you prevent the council from needing to be more aggressive in its next Local Plan.“

Simon Pemberton, speaking on behalf of Crompton Developments, said: ”I do not wish to be derogatory about Burscough but while it is a town surrounded by countryside, it does not have any distinguishing features which should constrain development going ahead to meet future housing demand.

“The Local Plan has to make provisions for development so the plans for Yew Trew Farm are only right and proper.

”Burscough may be smaller than other towns, but it is a key service centre for West Lancashire and one of the most important employment areas.

“Allowing this decision to go ahead would help to aid the town's future development.”

The hearings, which conclude next month, will help the Planning Inspectorate to determine whether the West Lancashire Local Plan should be adopted in its current form.

The hearing took place in Skelmersdale last Wednesday (February 20).


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