Fight over 700 homes hots up

Helen Smith has been helping with a campaign against 700 homes in Clayton-le-Woods
Helen Smith has been helping with a campaign against 700 homes in Clayton-le-Woods

An application has been submitted to build 700 homes on green fields between Chorley and Leyland.

Developers Fox Land and Property has applied for planning permission for the multi-million pound scheme on farmland off Wigan Road, in Clayton-le-Woods.

As well as the homes it includes plans for a new primary school, local centre, and children’s play area and if it gets permission it will destroy one of the few remaining green spaces between Chorley, Leyland and Bamber Bridge.

Coun Alan Cullens, who oversees planning at Chorley Council, said: “The council has received a planning application from Fox Land and Property for further houses on the site off Wigan Road.

“The application has not yet been validated as Fox Land and Property has also applied for a screening opinion, which is where the council has to consider whether a development should be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment.

“The council is currently working on the screening opinion and it is only when that decision has been made that the application can be validated and the consultation will start.”

A rival developer, Redrow Homes, has also announced their intention to build 150 properties on part of the same site.

However opposition against the proposed development is growing by the day with more than 400 people signing a petition against it.

Helen Smith, who has been spearheading the campaign, said: “We are delighted to have got so many signatures in a very limited time.

“There were only two people who refused to do it when we went round the neighbourhood.

“This shows the strength of feeling against the site being used for any kind of development.”

The 33-acre site between Chorley and Leyland has been identified as a potential location for development under the council’s Local Development Framework, which sets out which areas in the borough could be developed over the next 15 years.

Fox Land and Property already has permission to build 300 homes on neighbouring land off Wigan Road but critics say the larger scheme would destroy a huge swathe of the countryside.

Redrow held a consultation event at Lancaster Lane Primary School to display their plans on November 24.

Mrs Smith said: “I attended at the event and I was shocked at how emotive an issue this is for local people.

“I spent most of the evening speaking to people outside the event after they had been in to speak with Redrow and all said they felt powerless against such huge organisations.

“When I went inside myself, there was an awful lot of anger, and even shouting from one person, against the proposals.

“Any development on this land will be a major change to the make up of Clayton-le-Woods and a massive burden on the infrastructure.”

The campaign group ‘Residents Against Inappropriate Development’ are set to send letters to Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince Charles and Lindsay Hoyle complaining about the scheme.

A number of posters against the plans have gone up in neighbouring house.

Helen added: “The next step is to wait for planning applications from Fox and Redrow.

“We will then need support from as many people as possible to send in their individual objection letters which they can do by visiting

“A letter will have to be sent for each application.

“We will keep up the campaign and our group will continue to fight these ludicrous plans.

“If nothing else, we will at least hold the moral high ground over these greedy developers and all those that profit from them.”

Mick Noble, of Fox Land and Property, said: “We won’t be commenting.”

Nobody from Redrow Homes was available to comment on the application.