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Plan for 49 new houses at former Pontins holiday camp could get green light

Pontins Holiday Camp at Middleton during its heyday

New proposals to redevelop the former Middleton Tower(s) holiday camp have been given the thumbs up by council officers.

Plans for 49 new houses on the site of the former Pontins at Middleton, near Heysham, have been recommended for approval - with the council planning committee now set to make a final decision on planning permission.

The holiday camp opened in the 1930s but closed in the '90s and the land lay disused for many years.

During its heyday, the camp was a popular holiday destination, employed many local people, and was also where TV comedian and presenter Bradley Walsh got his start in entertainment as a Bluecoat.

A 650-home retirement village on the site was given approval in the 2000s after Lancaster City Council initially refused planning permission but the Secretary of State overturned the decision.

"The developer commenced the retirement village, but due to the economic downturn the development ceased leaving a small part of the development built out and the remaining parts of the site redundant," said a council report, published this week.

"Subsequent applications have sought the removal of the age restrictions imposed on each property and the condition controlling the use of the site as a retirement village on the grounds of its negative impact on viability and little prospect of the retirement village materialising."

The plan for new homes, by D Petty, Middleton Towers SPV Ltd, is spread across three parcels of land.

They want to build 15 three-bed, two-storey homes and four four-bed, two-storey homes on land north of Natterjack Lane/west of Lavender Way; two four-bed dormer bungalows and 21 three-bed dormer bungalows on Land off Badgers Wood; and seven three-bed dormer bungalows at land to the east of Lavender Way.

The plans also include access, a bus turning circle, open space and landscaping.

Middleton Tower or Towers (it was known as both during its history) is a 23-hectare site which currently has 53 existing homes, originally built as part of the first phase of the retirement village, and three Grade II listed buildings (The Tower, Ye Olde Farmhouse and the Tudor Bar).

The remainder of the wider site remains vacant with large parts overgrown.

The planning application has been amended from an original plan for 57 dwellings.

There have been three letters of objection and five letters of support from the public.

The council report said: "The provision up to 49 dwellings including a policy compliant contribution towards affordable housing, at a time when the Council cannot demonstrate an adequate supply of housing, is a consideration that is given great weight.

"The main issue weighing against the proposal relates to the poor accessibility between the site and the closest bus services to access wider amenities and services. However, this in isolation does not mean development cannot come forward.

"This is a finely balanced case, as the matters associated with accessibility and highway safety are significant considerations. However, in the context of the site’s allocation, the planning history and historical land uses, it is considered that the benefits of the proposal set out above would outweigh the conflicts and adverse impacts arising from the sites remote location and poor accessibility Accordingly, it is also therefore considered that the flood risk exception test can be met."

Planning officers recommended that permission should be granted, subject to conditions including the developer paying an affordable housing contribution of £236,601, as well as £55,609.50 towards Middleton Playing Fields and changing facilities and £14,780 (plus VAT) towards the Middleton Pump Track, as well as provision of on-site play area and green space, and the setting up of a management company to manage all on-site infrastructure, open space and landscaping.

Lancaster City Council planning regulatory committee - a group of elected councillors - will meet for talks on the plans on Monday, December 4 at 10.30am at Morecambe Town Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

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