950-home Lancashire scheme approved after developer ups affordable housing offer

A Lancashire local authority has approved plans for a 950-home mixed-use scheme on the site of a former race track after several months of "intensive discussions" with the applicants secured a policy-compliant affordable housing contribution.

Plans for the former Moss Side test track in Leyland. Image: Property Capital and Barratt Homes
Plans for the former Moss Side test track in Leyland. Image: Property Capital and Barratt Homes

Applicants Property Capital and Barratt Homes were last night granted full planning permission by South Ribble Council for 197 homes on the former Moss Side test track in the town of Leyland, near Preston. 

Outline planning permission was also granted for up to 753 more homes, a 5,000 square metre business park, 23,000 square metres of industrial space, a 3,000 square metre local centre, a primary school, open space and green infrastructure.

The full permission includes site enabling works and highways and drainage infrastructure for the wider site.

Council planning officers recommended that the plans for the site be refused when they first went to committee in March this year with a proposed contribution of 13.8 per cent affordable homes. This was increased at the last minute from an initial suggested contribution of 10 per cent, but still below the council’s local plan target.

However, councillors agreed to defer the application while negotiations took place.

Last night's permission came after the developers agreed to provide a policy-compliant 30 per cent affordable housing contribution, with a 50/50 split between affordable and intermediate rent, according to a planning report. 

The applicants also agreed to changes that addressed the authority’s concerns about separation distances between the proposed development plots, the report said. 

Recommending approval, officers said they were "satisfied that the increased affordable provision ... is acceptable as part of an overall planning gain package, and that the separation distances now meet the council’s standards".

The Moss Side test track is allocated in the 2015 South Ribble Local Plan for "a comprehensive development with both residential and employment uses" making a "significant contribution to economic growth in the borough". 

A masterplan for the site was approved in July 2017.

Officers advised: "Since the planning committee in March 2019 there has been a period of intensive discussions and further analysis of the viability appraisals submitted with the scheme. This has now reached the position whereby the applicants are happy to offer 30 per cent affordable provision on each phase of development on a 50/50 tenure split of affordable rent and intermediate."

They added: "The test track is an important site and provides the opportunity to deliver a flagship scheme supporting the delivery of strong place making for all sections of society. 

"The scheme would provide the opportunity to redevelop a brownfield site, allocated primarily for residential within the South Ribble Local Plan and address the council’s requirement to implement the government’s housing targets."

In November last year, South Ribble councillors endorsed a 2,000-home masterplan for a 100-hectare site to the the south of the town of Penwortham.

The local authority is currently working on a review of the Central Lancashire Joint Core Strategy in partnership with Chorley and Preston councils.

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