Councillor loses fight over home

Photo : Ian Robinson'Election night at Chorley Town Hall'Result'Eccleston and Mawdesley'Kevin Joyce (Con)'''P24 election special
Photo : Ian Robinson'Election night at Chorley Town Hall'Result'Eccleston and Mawdesley'Kevin Joyce (Con)'''P24 election special
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A Chorley councillor has lost his battle to be allowed to build a bungalow in the greenbelt.

Coun Kevin Joyce, who is executive member (transformation) on Chorley Council, twice had an application rejected to build a home for his mother-in-law on land to the rear of his £500,000 property in Runshaw Lane, Euxton.

His latest appeal was heard by planning inspector Karen Ridge, but she upheld the council’s refusal.

She ruled the proposal amounted to “inappropriate development in the greenbelt” and would “erode the rural character of the area” if it went ahead.

It means that if Coun Joyce wants to continue his fight, he will have to go to the High Court in London, but that would be expensive.

Coun Joyce was again unavailable for comment, but his planning agent Peter Gilkes said he was hugely disappointed.

He said: “The main reason given in essence by the inspector for refusal was that she considered it would harm the greenbelt.

“It is amidst a cluster of 35 properties, therefore allowing the proposal (would not) damage or harm the greenbelt in any material way.

“Of greatest disappointment is the fact that, in our submission, we put forward examples whereby other applications have been approved or won on appeal, which were not dissimilar to this case,”

During this month’s local election, Coun Joyce was branded a hypocrite for putting his name to a Conservative leaflet saying “the greenbelt is safe in our hands”.

Coun Peter Goldsworthy, leader of Chorley Council, said: “Councillors do not have any special privileges when it comes to applying for planning permission, and any application they submit must be decided by the development control committee sitting in public.

“Coun Joyce disagreed with the decision, and like anyone else he had the right to appeal, so the plans were decided by an independent planning inspector.”

A neighbour of Coun Joyce’s, who asked not to be named, said: “I’m pleased that the inspector has seen sense and confirmed Chorley Council’s decision.

“If building had been allowed I think it could have opened the floodgates for other development.

“We hope it’s the end of the matter. We need to protect the greenbelt for residents and future generations.”