August 30th, 2017
The Wyre Local Plan
Regular readers of the Inskip-with-Sowerby Parish Council Newsletter will recall that a new Wyre Local Plan has been in the offing for some time and that it will impact on Inskip directly. The previous Wyre Local Plan was baselined in 1999 and the new one was originally scheduled for 2011, so is now 6 years late.
All Planning Authorities are required to develop a Local Plan. It is meant to be a good thing as it allows the local community to control development by establishing exactly where and how much development will be allowed. However the flip side of that coin is that is can allow development to be imposed upon local communities where the Planning Authority argue that development is for the greater good!
255 more houses planned at Inskip between now and 2031
Here at Inskip we seem to be getting the short end of the stick as the Planning Authority, Wyre Council, are looking to double the size of the core settlement of Inskip between now and 2031 (which is as far ahead as the new Local Plan looks). The headline figure of 255 new homes excludes the 27 houses just built or under construction at Ash Meadows off Preston Road, Inskip but includes the additional 55 to the north and south of Preston Road currently in the pipeline for which outline planning permission has already been granted (being marketed by the developer as “St. Peters Fields”) and is made up of a further 200 new homes to be built at Inskip over the next decade or so!
|Growth of Inskip under Wyre Local Plan up to 2031||Total number of dwellings|
|Core Settlement at Inskip prior to 2016||236
|Currently being built at Ash Meadows||plus 27||263|
|Currently planned as “St. Peters Fields” to north and south of Preston Rd||plus 55||318|
|Between now and 2031||plus 200||518|
To put this into some sort of context, across the whole area covered by Wyre Borough Council the Local Plan identifies that there is a need to build about 479 new homes across the borough each year between now and 2031.
Discussions with Wyre Council
Since Wyre Borough Council officials first contacted the Parish Council in 2014 about developing a new Local Plan, they have required that all discussions should remain confidential so as not to compromise negotiations that Wyre officials were holding concurrently with landowners. This condition placed the Parish Council in an uncomfortable position throughout this period, but Parish Councillors reluctantly accepted and respected it, believing that engaging with the Planning Authority on the development of a new Local Plan was in the best interests of the residents of the Parish which they represent. Only now are we able to tell you the full story!
Members of the Parish Council have met with Wyre officials on a number of occasions over the last 3 years or so and have consistently advised that there is little demand for additional housing at Inskip other than for affordable housing, social housing for rental, and housing suitable for older members of the community.
The Wyre Local Plan team accept that development is seldom popular but point out that demand for new housing has to be placed somewhere. Owing to lack of available sites in Fleetwood, Cleveleys, Thornton, and Poulton and owing to highway constraints both there and elsewhere they estimate that they may only be able to deliver about two thirds of the target number of new homes across the borough. They would have liked to allocate land at Inskip for up to 380 new homes, however there are also highways constraints here so they have put forward a reduced target of 255 new homes between now and 2031 including the 55 houses currently in the pipeline. They have consistently assured Parish Councillors that the Wyre policy of 30% affordable homes and for a mix of properties in major developments will continue to be imposed, so our concerns for low cost housing and homes suitable for older members of the community may be met, but that is ultimately beyond the Parish Council’s control.
The Parish Council vision for development at Inskip
The Parish Council were forced to accept that a certain level of development was inevitable and felt that it would be best to put forward ideas as to how we would like to see Inskip develop rather than leave it to the Planners to decide what is best for us!
From the first meeting with Wyre back in 2014 – and remember Wyre insisted that all these conversations remain confidential – the Parish Council put forward a vision to enhance the ambiance of the village by developing a “Wrea Green” style village green opposite to the Derby Arms which would act as a village focal point with residential developments on both sides of the road between Dead Dam Bridge and Laytus Hall Farm. This would protect the high-grade agricultural land adjacent to the core of the existing settlement and another benefit of developing in the area adjacent to the Derby Arms would be to minimise the impact on the existing core settlement. A further potential benefit to development in that location would be the provision of main drainage facilities being brought closer to Carrs Green, enabling existing properties in that vicinity to connect into the system.
From the first the Planning Authority raised concerns with the Parish Council’s ideas, as some of the land proposed was on the flood plain, and there is an Ethylene pipeline and other pipelines crossing the area that would severely constrain the potential to develop there for health and safety reasons. What was clear was that developing land adjacent to the existing village core was seen as a simpler solution by Wyre Borough Council as they would only have to deal with one willing landowner that being Metacre Ltd.
Wyre Council proposal for development at Inskip
In February Parish Councillors met with Wyre officials at the Civic Centre at their request. At this meeting a proposal was tabled that the additional 200 homes proposed in the Local Plan for Inskip should be located to the south of Preston Road on land comprising Hodgkinson Farm. The benefits of this approach would be that it nicely “rounds off” the existing core settlement, balancing the numbers of houses each side of the B5269. The new homes would be on the same side of the main road as the School, and much of the extra traffic generated by the development would emerge from the new estate directly onto Preston Road to the west of the village or onto the main road to the south of the village near Dead Dam Bridge for traffic heading towards Kirkham or Preston. Much traffic would therefore avoid the centre of the village and in particular the sharp bend where Preston Road and Mill Lane meet by the junction with School Lane. This was put forward by Wyre officials as the optimal solution from a planning design perspective. Whilst Parish Councillors accepted that this might prove the ‘least bad’ option, it was felt that the Parish Council could not endorse it in the absence of community consultation.
It is worth noting that even at that point there was still ongoing discussion that some, albeit limited, housing development could take place overlooking a ‘village green’ opposite the Derby Arms. Furthermore, the number of any housing units earmarked for that location would reduce the number required elsewhere.
And then the goalposts were moved!
And then, soon after this meeting, another plan started to emerge. This latest was predicated on a number of planning assumptions:
(i) That it would be unacceptable to allow any further development to the south of Preston Road as it would make Hodgkinson Farm unviable as a business;
(ii) That any development to the east of Inskip was not appropriate owing to problems with access and the presence of the Ethylene pipeline;
(iii) That development in the vicinity of the Derby Arms was not appropriate owing to the Ethylene pipeline and as some of it is flood plain;
(iv) The only viable placement for further housing at Inskip would be to the north of Preston Road and north of Manor Road.
Wyre subsequently adopted this plan against strong objections from the Parish Council, both written and at several meetings between Parish Councillors, Planners, and the Wyre Chief Executive. But at the most recent of these meetings Wyre put forward an additional argument, that Metacre were no longer offering their land to the south of Preston Road for consideration in the Local Plan – though in actual fact Wyre appear to have accepted this plan prior to Metacre formally withdrawing land to the south of Preston Road from consideration.
Full details of the Wyre Local Plan can be found on the Wyre Council website: http://www.wyre.gov.uk/
You will note that there are two parcels of land to the south of Preston Road still included in the Local Plan, these are:
Additional land immediately to the west of the School that Metacre propose to gift to the School to allow for the expansion that will be required to support the growing population, ensuring that development funds for education are retained locally, and
a. Additional land immediately to the west of the School that Metacre propose to gift to the School to allow for the expansion that will be required to support the growing population, ensuring that development funds for education are retained locally, and
b. Land to the east of the School that Metacre propose to gift to the Parish Council for provision of a Village Green (an offer made by Metacre of land to the rear of the proposed development to the north of Preston Road was rejected by Parish Councillors as land at this location might not feel like shared community space, nor would it add to the ambience of the village).
Wyre and Metacre propose that these ideas would be included in a Master Plan for development at Inskip once the overarching Wyre Local Plan is approved. This Master Plan may also include a proposal for allotments, another potential local requirement highlighted by the Parish Council. However Metacre will only guarantee offers of land for village green or allotments once they have received planning consent to their developments so really we don’t yet know for sure whether that these promises will actually be delivered.
Public meeting at 7:30pm on Wednesday 13th September at the YIPS Centre
The Parish Council has arranged a PUBLIC MEETING to be held at 7:30pm on Wednesday 13th September at the YIPS Centre, Nelson Gardens, Inskip, PR4 0TR so that all interested residents can have their say and help the Parish Council to establish and represent the views of the whole community. If you want to tell us what you think then please come along.