On Air Now

Non Stop Beyond

Midnight - 6:00am

Now Playing

INTERVIEW: Residents "very disappointed" as controversial housing near Torrisholme Barrow could still go ahead

The view from Torrisholme Barrow of fields where new housing is planned

Residents have spoken out after two hours of talks on controversial plans to build 129 homes near Torrisholme Barrow ended with no final decision being made.

Councillors voted on Monday to delay a decision on the planned Oakmere Homes scheme in fields close to Fulwood Drive.

It was standing room only at the back of the room as concerned residents packed Morecambe Town Hall for the Lancaster City Council planning committee meeting.

Residents spoke out passionately against the scheme - which is earmarked for land close to the gardens of existing bungalows on Fulwood Drive, Williams Avenue and Hamilton Road, and also near the railway line and Torrisholme Barrow.

After councillors decided to defer a decision on granting planning permission to a later date, some of the people who live in the Fulwood Drive area spoke to Beyond Radio.

One of the residents, who asked to remain anonymous, said she was "very disappointed" and "worried".

Earlier, Ian White, a resident who spoke at the meeting, said the housing would lead to "an alarming increase of traffic on Fulwood Drive" (pictured below) and that the area would be "completely wrecked".

Mr White said there had been "frequent and widespread flooding over the past three years" in the area and that the scheme was "unwise and too risky".

But Graham Love, representing Oakmere Homes, said the scheme would "help to boost housing delivery in Lancaster" and that there had been "no technical objections in terms of traffic and drainage" from County Highways and the Lead Local Flood Authority.

Mr Love said it was a "carefully designed development".

Related Story: Controversial plans for 129 new homes in fields near Torrisholme could get green light - Beyond Radio

Prior to the meeting, more than 130 residents contacted Lancaster City Council with a range of objections including increased traffic and longer queues at the nearby Bare Lane level crossing, increased flood risk, the impact on the view from Torrisholme Barrow, increased noise including during construction, the need for more bungalows rather than family houses as the site is unsuited to families being next to a large area of bungalows and retired people, the potential impact on newts and frogs as well as deer, foxes and heron which are seen on or near the site, and the impact on the railway line.

One resident contacted the council supporting the scheme, saying housing was much-needed in the area.

There were also objections from Slyne-with-Hest Parish Council and Morecambe Town Council.

City council officers recommended the scheme should be approved subject to a legal agreement with the developer to ensure a minimum of 27 per cent affordable housing, a financial contribution for open space, a travel plan contribution of £6000 and other conditions.

They said that "whilst the development is considered to cause less than substantial harm to the setting of designated heritage assets (Torrisholme Barrow) it is considered that this is outweighed by the public benefits of the scheme".

During the meeting, officers advised councillors that a similar scheme in a meadow near Watery Lane in Lancaster, which had been refused planning permission in April 2022, was now going ahead after Oakmere Homes appealed.

A government planning inspector upheld the appeal in February, saying the council had a "woeful" undersupply of housing in the Lancaster and Morecambe district.

There were concerns among some councillors that if they refused planning permission for the Fulwood Drive scheme, the developer would appeal again and the decision would once again be overturned, at a cost to the council.

Related Story: Residents delighted as plans for 78 homes in Lancaster meadow turned down - Beyond Radio

But Councillor Geoff Knight, a Morecambe Bay Independent, said he still believed the Fulwood Drive plans should be refused on several grounds, including that access arrangements to the land were "extremely poor" and the scheme could lead to "speculative development on adjacent sites".

Councillor Knight then proposed to refuse the plans and a vote was held, with Councillors Greenwell and Cleet also backing the motion.

Councillors King, Lenox, Budden, Hamilton-Cox, Brookes, Thomas, Redfern, Tyldesley and Guilding voted against this motion, and Councillor Hartley abstained.

A second motion, to defer the plans, was then proposed by Councillor Tim Hamilton-Cox and seconded by Councillor Sue Tyldesley.

Councillor Hamilton-Cox, of the Greens, said he wanted the city council to work with County Highways to find an alternative route for construction vehicles to access the land, rather than Fulwood Drive.

"I think there are still a lot of problems to deal with and access is the main issue," he said.

This motion was voted through unanimously and a final decision on planning permission will now be made at a later date.

More from Local News

Recently Played Songs