Residents celebrate refusal of pitch plans

John Bamber is furious at discovering plans are been looked into turning the green space next to his house into football pitches
John Bamber is furious at discovering plans are been looked into turning the green space next to his house into football pitches

Controversial plans for six football pitches on farmland near Chorley have been refused after a show of people power.

Euxton Parish Council applied to use land in Whinney Lane for sports facilities and a changing room block.

Last Tuesday night, Chorley Council’s development control committee agreed with the officer’s recommendation to refuse the plans. More than 60 concerned residents crammed into the Lancastrian Suite to hear councillors vote 10-0 in their favour, with four abstentions.

One of them, John Bamber, 60, who has been spearheading Euxton Greenbelt Group, said: “We are over the moon with the decision and it proves that we have done the right thing.

“I think the report to the development control was quite damning as the planning officers said that there was enough play facilities in Chorley and they could accommodate more teams if needed.

“It has been a long process and we have spent between £3-4,000 on trying to battle the plans and it could have been a lot more.

“We hope the parish council will now listen to residents in the consultation process before they go ahead with an application to make sure that everyone wants it .

His wife Marilyn Bamber spoke for three minute at the meeting.

She said: “Our main argument was that they were building on greenbelt land and that it was not really needed or is essential.

“The parish council also said that it was something for the community but the pleasure of the green space would have been taken away.”

Debra Platt, who is the clerk to the parish council, said: “It was unfortunate that Chorley Council would not support sport and recreation development in Euxton - particularly in view to encourage more people in to sport.

“(Also taking into account) Euxton’s massive growth in the last 10 years, which is still set to continue in the coming years.” She said that the development control committee has previously insisted that larger developers in the area allocate Section 106 money for off-site play and recreation facilities.

The clerk added: “Euxton’s 10,000+ residents will suffer over the coming years from a lack of recreation provision, when its population increases by up to a further 39 per cent.

“Chorley Council has no vision as to where it is heading with sports provision due to its lack of play and pitch provision analysis and its absence of a future vision, no forward planning or developing ideas for a future gap.

“Euxton Parish Council was attempting to offer quality provision within its own village - something Chorley Council appears incapable of developing or providing itself.

“The parish council will consider its options when this decision is presented to it at its forthcoming meeting.”

Coun Peter Goldsworthy, leader of Chorley Council, said: “A democratically elected planning committee considered all the facts around the application and determined that the development was not appropriate and therefore refused it.”