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Plans to knock down dilapidated farm for nine new homes at Middleton refused due to flood risk

The dilapidated farm buildings at Middleton

Plans for new housing in Middleton have been turned down because of a risk of flooding.

Lancaster City Council planning regulatory committee refused the plans to demolish a derelict farm and replace it with nine new homes.

One of the main reasons was because the area is located within a flood risk zone.

The applicants want to build a mixture of semi-detached and detached houses on Low Road in Middleton, with access and parking.

There are no farm operations taking place from the site and many of the buildings are in a poor state of repair.

The scheme had also previously been given planning permission in 2015 but work had not started.

So the plans came back before the committee at a meeting at Morecambe Town Hall on Monday because permission had expired.

As they had in 2015, council planning officers recommended for the plans to be refused.

They said "the proposal represents an unacceptable form of development, classified as more vulnerable to flood risk within an area defined as having a high probability of flooding".

The council has also said "the application fails to detail the way in which the development can be sustainably drained in accordance with the surface water drainage hierarchy", that "it has not been conclusively demonstrated that a satisfactory arrangement for disposing of surface water can be achieved and consequently a risk of flooding would remain" and "the site is not within an identified sustainable rural settlement and fails to demonstrate how the proposal will meet a locally identified housing need".

Councillor Andrew Gardiner, Conservative ward councillor for Overton, spoke at the meeting in favour of the scheme.

He said "parish councillors would be delighted to see the end of this derelict farm".

There were no objections to the plans from United Utilities, the Environment Agency or Environmental Health.

But County Highways had objected, saying "access is too narrow and there are too many reversing movements in too tighter space for safety of all road users including pedestrians".

During the meeting on Monday, councillors questioned officers on how big the flooding risk was on the site, especially as permanent flood defences are in place.

Jennifer Rehman, planning officer, said the site was in a recognised flood zone, and "very little development has been seen in Morecambe for some time because a lot of it falls within flood zones".

Councillor Mel Guilding, a Conservative, asked if the site had flooded within the last 100 years, and council officers said they did not know.

Officers also said that while Middleton was identified by Lancaster City Council as an area for possible rural housing development in 2015, this has now changed.

Conservative councillor Keith Budden said: "I have some sympathy with the owner of the property.

"I think we should take into account the sea defences. I won't be supporting refusal."

Councillors Thornberry, Lenox, Brookes, King, Frea, Tyldesley, Dennison, Greenwell and Bryning voted to refuse the plans, with councillors Cleet, Guilding, Budden and Thomas voting the other way. Councillor Redfern abstained. So the plans were refused via a majority vote.

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