12. Poulton Forum Monday 11 August 2014

Hosted by Poulton & Carleton Residents’ Association

Monday 11 Aug at St Martin’s & St Hilda’s Church Hall.
Please note the date change back to the usual Monday night slot.

Summary of main points discussed, decisions and actions agreed

1. Welcome and Introductions
Lesley Middleton introduced herself and Bill Waller (Residents’ Association Chair and Vice-Chair respectively) and welcomed those present to the 12th Forum meeting.

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Attendees: Approximately 120 members of the public plus Wyre Councillors David Bannister, Roger Berry, Simon Bridge, May Gandhi, Ramesh Gandhi, Peter Gibson, David Henderson, Lesley McKay, and Poulton’s LCC Councillor, Alf Clempson. Apologies for absence received from some members of the public and from Wyre Councillors Barry Birch, Colette Birch and James Hargreaves.

2. Finances
There is approximately £80 in the Association’s bank account. Donations would be gratefully received to help meet publicity costs and the £30 fee for hiring the hall.

3. Housing Development Proposals – Garstang Road
Andy Pepper and Kevin Farrington gave a presentation on behalf of the developers. The site, which occupies some 40 acres on Garstang Road East opposite the Poulton Industrial Estate, was allocated for residential development in the 1999 Local Authority (LA) plan. The site presents a number of challenges including highway congestion, a history of flooding, discovery of archaeological remains, ecological issues arising from existing ponds that support various habitats and environmental issues around noise and air quality. Conversely, it presents positive opportunities in the form of increased LA revenue, additional income for local businesses and job creation during construction. Two vehicular access points are planned onto Garstang Road and a pedestrian access onto Little Poulton Lane but the precise layout of the site is still to be finalised. That will determine the final number and type of properties which are currently estimated to be between 500 and 600, 2 – 5 bedroom homes of which 30% will be affordable housing. Whether the latter properties are for sale or rent depends on the LA’s policy. There will be further public consultation when the plan is finalised before a planning application is submitted, which is expected to be done by the end of September. At that point, Wyre Borough (WB) will commence its process of public consultation.
In the ensuing Q&A discussion concerns were raised about four main issues. Doubts were expressed about whether the demand for additional properties existed given the state of the market and existing levels of supply, and the absence of significant new employment opportunities in the area. On the matter of traffic volumes, the developers cannot assess this until the number of homes is decided but their planning application will include a transport survey. The cumulative impact on traffic of this and other housing developments in the area was a matter for WB and LCC though developers can be required to contribute to the cost of major infrastructure projects such as by-pass construction. Linked to increased traffic volumes was the impact on the already high levels of air pollution in the town centre. Air quality and noise pollution assessments will have to accompany the planning application and it will be for WB to decide what mitigation is needed and, if appropriate, what contribution the developer should make to resolution. On the matter of flooding, it was explained that the existing ponds will remain but with their drainage improved and new ponds would be constructed. Developers are required to not add any extra burden to existing ditch drainage systems and to attenuate flow into sewer systems by storage and controlled release so that flow rates are not increased. Finally, concern was expressed about support services with primary and secondary schools in the area being full and GP surgeries having no capacity for increased patient numbers. When the planning application is submitted it will be for WB to consult with Education and other departments about such capacity issues and to identify any action that they require the developer to take.

4. Garden Birds
Alan Stamford who runs the local Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) club gave an illustrated talk about garden birds found in the area. Members of the public could help protect birds by providing a feeding station in the garden, supplied with a variety of food types and maintained all year round; by providing water – to drink and to bathe; by installing nest boxes and by leaving part of their garden wild. Anyone wishing to join the RSPB should check the website www.rspb.org.uk/join

5. Planning Updates
Councillor Peter Gibson made some general observations about the planning process. For reasons that are unclear, there are a significant number of planning applications currently being considered. WB cannot stop applications or block them and they must be judged on the basis of national planning guidelines. There is currently a national presumption of permission being granted and that policy is unlikely to change. LCC and the Highways Agency are always consulted but if they do not support an LA’s refusal of permission then any appeal is likely to be successful. A perceived lack of demand for housing is not a reason for refusing permission. LAs are required to have allocated sufficient land for 5 years supply of new housing and failure to do so can lead to planning decisions being overturned. Cllr Gibson agreed to clarify whether a particular site can be ‘de-allocated’. A small crumb of comfort may be taken from the fact that even if permission is granted, the development does not always go ahead – as happened with the Royal Oak Pub site.
On the specific matter of the Redrow plans for a development of 100 dwellings on Carr Head Lane, this is not an allocated site. The application has been formally submitted and will be heard by the Planning Committee thus giving residents the opportunity to attend. It is important that residents let WB have their views on the application, in writing to Planning Services at the Civic Centre, by email to planning@wyre.gov.uk or via the website at www.wyre.gov.uk The application reference number is 14/00607/OUTMAJ. Comments should be received by 22nd August and it is important that they focus on the planning considerations that can be taken into account.

6. Updates from Forum on 12th May
6.1. Shaping Your Neighbourhood Grants
Lesley McKay confirmed that the £10k available from WB for grants to Poulton and Carleton groups had been allocated as follows:
– £4.5k to refurbish the playground on Farnham Way in Carleton
– £3.5k to the Vicarage Park Community Centre group which is aiming to re-open St Chad’s Church Hall
– £1.5k to Poulton Bowling Club to paint the pavilion and provide benches
– £0.5k to the Poulton in Bloom team to fund an edible flower garden.
6.2. Lockwood Avenue Apartments
Carole Woolley reported that the Historical Society, with help from WB Councillors, had secured a ruling that the banner across this building should be removed.
6.3. LCC Members Grant
Alf Clempson reminded residents of the £2k Members Grant he has available to distribute to local groups. In previous years he had given sums, for example, to Fylde Cricket Club for a defibrillator, the Gymnastics club for equipment and to the Poulton in Bloom team. He is proposing to split the grant into £300 lots and invited local groups to make bids to him. (Reminder – Alf’s contact details are: Mobile – 07983 335630, email alf.clempson@lancashire.gov.uk and in person at his informal surgery in the Cosy Corner Cafe between 10.00 and 12.00 on Saturdays.)
6.4. St Chads Church Wall
LCC are doing a property search to establish ownership of the wall and thus responsibility for the repairs that are needed.

7. Any Other Business
7.1. A second Newsletter has been issued about progress on the Booths development.
7.2. Due to the lack of time at this meeting, Councillor Berry will arrange for an email to be issued on the plans for the bypass through the Hardhorn Road car park.
7.3. Alf Clempson will follow-up on the need to clean the road sign on Breck/Station Road and the misleading signs on The Avenue and near Burnside Nursery.

8. Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held in St Chads Church on Wednesday 12 November. This date has been chosen so as to enable local MP Ben Wallace to attend.

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