‘Huge disappointment’ at planning permission for housing development close to primary school

‘Huge disappointment’ at planning permission for housing development close to primary school

by Henry James (April 2021)

A SKELMERSDALE resident has expressed “huge disappointment” at a new development close to St James’s School (Ashurst) receiving planning permission - despite the objections of locals.

At the end of March, it was announced Tawd Valley Developments (TVD), which is owned by West Lancashire Borough Council, now has four active development sites in Skelmersdale, and they are in Eskbank, Fairstead, Brierfield and now Northfield.

The Northfield development is the latest project to ‘break ground’. Work has just started on site to build 27 new council homes that will be available to rent from the Council and will welcome their new tenants in 2022.

However, Skelmersdale resident, Juliet Brotheridge is not happy about the development and commented: “I wanted to express my huge disappointment that the new development adjacent to St James’s School (Ashurst) got granted planning permission after 500 people lodged an objection.

“There is plenty of housing being built at the moment in Skelmersdale, and this piece of land was a refuge for wildlife including four types of orchid, oak trees willow etc and an array of birds. The whole sites has been ruthlessly stripped bare of all foliage with zero sensitivity to the environment. I am in favour of council housing and affordable rents etc, but this is brutal. Could this not have been done in a more restrained manner reflecting the concerns of local residents.

“Is this another case of the views of Skelmersdale being totally ignored?”

A spokesperson for West Lancashire Borough Council responded: “The impact of the development on the site's ecology and trees was fully assessed as part of the planning application. As part of this process, the Council sought specialist and independent advice to assess the ecological impacts of the proposed development.

“While it was accepted that the site would need to be cleared of vegetation to make way for the housing development, the proposal included replacement landscaping and the development was judged not to have significant ecological impacts on protected sites or species.

“All of the correspondence from local residents was considered by the Council's Planning Committee and the Committee also heard from speakers at the meeting, with all viewpoints given due and fair consideration by Councillors in the assessment of the application.

“Councillors decided that the principle of residential development was  acceptable on the site and the scheme was considered to be compliant with both local and national planning policies, therefore planning permission was granted.”

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