Homes plan slashed for Preston's 'House of Horrors'

A developer will ask councillors tomorrow if it can drop eight affordable homes from Broughton’s notorious “House of Horrors” site due to Covid.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 4:55 am
Houses under construction on the site of Judge Openshaw's former home.
Houses under construction on the site of Judge Openshaw's former home.

Pillars Construction says its original plans for Park House, where High Court Judge William Openshaw was brutally murdered in 1981, are no longer viable due to the economic situation caused by the pandemic.

The company has asked Preston Council if it can substitute the eight affordable apartments in the 38-home scheme with two market value four-bed semi-detached houses.

Members of tomorrow’s planning committee have been advised to agree, subject to financial contributions being forthcoming for affordable units elsewhere and also to pay for six primary school places in the area.

Developer wants to drop plans for eight affordable homes on the land.

The application is the latest switch in plans to build on the Park House grounds, off Garstang Road in the centre of the village.

The original scheme to demolish Judge Openshaw’s old house and replace it with a more modern detached home was approved back in 2014.

Since then there have been at least six changes which now mean 30 new homes will be built together with the two semi-detached in the main building in place of the eight flats.

A report to be presented to councillors tomorrow says that the most recent change comes “due to unforeseen circumstances, namely the Covid-19 pandemic and the current economic climate which the applicant states has resulted in the previously approved scheme being unviable.”

The scene at the house in Broughton on the morning of the murder in 1981.

Normally 35 per cent of new homes in rural areas have to be affordable.

Judge Openshaw was stabbed to death in his garage in 1981 by a man he had sent to borstal in 1968.

John Smith waited in the garage of the house all night before attacking the judge in the morning as he got into his car to go to court.

He then highjacked a car at knifepoint and fled to Scotland where he was arrested.

Smith was jailed for life at Leeds Crown Court, At his trial it was revealed he had a chilling list of execution targets, all of them top lawmen.