Plans for a huge new housing development have been described as ‘devastating to the local community’.
Almost 400 new homes have been proposed for land at Eaves Green in Chorley.
The plans have been submitted to Chorley Council – but they have sparked a massive outcry among objectors.
A special Facebook group and online petition has been set up to fight the development – on land south west of Lower Burgh way – with a deadline of October 14 set for campaigners to put forward their objections.
One proposed development is for 201 new homes, another for 100 and a third for 88.
Campaigners say it is extremely worrying that the new homes are proposed in light of the current closure of Chorley Hospital’s A&E department.
Paul Walmsley, executive cabinet member for public protection and planning at Chorley Council, said the council’s hands were tied.
“As a council, we have a responsibility and a duty laid down by the Government to provide 417 houses a year, on average, from our local plan which runs from 2012-2026,” he explained.
“Every council has to provide a local plan and, within that, we lay out the various areas which we believe would be appropriate for development.
“As a council, we have to provide a certain number of houses and if we keep refusing the Government could then impose restrictions on us which would mean it would become a free-for-all in Chorley, where the council would have very little power to stop developers.”
He said the authority was putting as much pressure as it could on hospital bosses to re-open the A&E, but added that the new housing plans were made before the department closed.
He said “The A&E closure is not a council responsibility and, although we are pushing to get it reopened, it’s down to the hospital trust and the Government to hopefully get that resolved.
“Within the development at Eaves Green, which a number of people are concerned about, it’s important to say that there will be no loss of woodland.
“Within the plans that have come forward there will be an opportunity for people to put forward their comments, objections and ideas to make sure that the applications for the site can be as sympathetic to the area as possible.”
Campaigners say the housing would swallow up “a huge green area which used to be green belt”.
They claim wildlife habitats would be destroyed and that the infrastructure – roads, schools and GPs – would be put under severe pressure.
A host of objections have been sent to Chorley Council’s planning department. They include:
l There are a number of local primary schools, a quick piece of research shows that these are already oversubscribed, for example St Georges had 180 applicants for 35 places in 2015, Charnock Richard had 58 applicants for 25 places and Coppull Parish had 89 applicants for 30 places. There are no health care providers within walking distance. The nearest shop is over a mile away from the development. All these factors mean that anyone on the new estate would be likely to drive and add to the traffic.
l Local medical and educational facilities cannot cope with any additional pressures of numbers. Speed control along Lower Burgh Way is already uncontrollable and pressure of additional vehicles will make this an even more dangerous road to cross than it already is.
l The roads on Eaves Green will not cope with an extra 400+ cars.
l I strongly object to this application on the grounds of the increased traffic, increased noise and the destruction of our wildlife.
l The three applications for development at Lower Burgh Way are devastating to the local community and the beautiful wildlife.
l Chorley was once a proud market town and over the next 10 years this is going to change dramatically, it will be a place to just drive through not to come as a visitor and enjoy the natural beauty it processes.
l This is absolutely disgraceful. So nearly 800 additional vehicles on the estate using shared paths/roads. How will this estate cope? Even more danger for children when playing outside. Roads can’t cope. Schools can’t cope. Doctors and dentists definitely can’t cope.