Controversial plans to build a 1,300-home ‘garden village’ in South Ribble have been officially filed.
Story Homes unveiled its blueprint for constructing the sprawling development – on greenbelt land east of the M6 in Samlesbury – back in February when it launched a public consultation on the proposal.
The company says it has received “significant feedback” which it has incorporated into the master plan application which has now been submitted to South Ribble Borough Council for consideration.
But locals opposed to the Cuerdale Garden Village project, which would be mostly south of the A59, Preston New Road, near junction 31 of the motorway, are disappointed that the home builder is going ahead with his plans after a referendum among existing ones Residents in the area have expressed overwhelming opposition to the project.
Ninety-eight percent of the 474 people who took part in the April poll — a turnout of half the community’s population — said they opposed the proposed development.
Cuerdale Garden Village’s plan for 1,300 homes was rejected by locals in a referendum
According to Story Homes, around 3,000 jobs would be created by the garden village, which would also include workspaces, a local shopping center and an elementary school.
The company has also announced that the public consultation has generated a “high volume” of registrations to purchase a property on the 165-acre property if the plans are approved.
John Winstanley, strategic land manager at Story Homes, said that the developer “is proud to present plans for Cuerdale Garden Village, which have been thoroughly designed with the creation of places at heart and our commitment to providing a model garden village provide evidence”.
He added: “The plans have been carefully designed with the feedback we received during the pre-application consultation to deliver a high quality, sustainable development suitable for modern life.
“We understand that there have been some concerns about the proposals in the Samlesbury community; However, we are confident that the plans will bring significant benefits to all residents of South Ribble and beyond.
“Cuerdale Garden Village will produce a range of quality homes in a carefully designed, sustainable new community while unlocking significant business investment within the district.
“We will continue to engage with the Council and the wider community on the plans as they move forward,” Mr Winstanley said.
The application will now be evaluated by South Ribble Borough Council planning officers, who will then make a recommendation to the agency’s all-party planning committee, through which council members will decide whether to give the green light to the draft application.
If they do, it would establish the principle of development on the site and allow Story Homes to submit more detailed plans and seek full approval at a later date.
The greenbelt nature of the property means the company must demonstrate “very special circumstances” if it is to get approval for its proposal.
Graham Young, leader of Samlesbury and Cuerdale Parish Council, which organized the non-binding referendum on the garden village, says he would have liked to see the plans abandoned after the public vote, but accepts that “it never will.” happen”.
“I’m disappointed, but I suppose the realist in me knew they had to do it [continue] – because if they dragged it out now after saying they were going to propose this year, they’d have balls in their faces. So they have to keep the whole situation going.
“And in one way, I’m actually glad they did something because sitting back and waiting for it to happen is almost worse,” Cllr Young said.
He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the community was now “preparing” to reject the application as part of the formal planning process.
“We get our ducks in a row,” he added.
A campaign group, the Save Samlesbury Action Group, was formed earlier this year.
South Ribble Borough Council leader Paul Foster said he thought an application the size of for the garden village would “give a lot of interest locally”.
“We asked the developer to ensure there are plenty of opportunities for citizens and businesses to learn more about what is planned and provide feedback.
“The principle of a garden village is one that provides for a ‘whole’ development with all the necessary infrastructure – and therefore a lot of information has to be taken into account.
“The first step will be for our officials to review this initial application in detail before it is reviewed by our planning committee at a later date.
“As always, our aim is to ensure that any development is right for the district, our residents and the community – and we will carefully consider the proposals that are put forward.
“If any of our residents have a question about applying to us, please email [email protected]’ said Clr Foster.
A website set up by Story Homes ahead of the public consultation remains active and provides more details on the proposals.
The company claims the development would generate an additional £225m a year for the South Ribble economy and over £29m in additional spending with existing retail and leisure businesses.