PUBLIC INQUIRY APP/U2370/W/19/3238536

20th January 2020

Thornton Action Group (TAG)

Closing Submission

presented by Howard Phillips, Vice-Chair of TAG

at the Public Inquiry

into the refusal by Wyre Council

for the development of Phase 2

by Wainhomes at Lamb’s Road, Thornton


1 Let me start by quoting what I said in my Opening Statement. “TAG is here at this Inquiry because as concerned residents of Thornton we wish to see the SA 1/2 area developed in accordance with the KDCs of the Local Plan”. For Mr Fraser to suggest that we wish to delay or even stop the development is to completely misrepresent our position.

2 The Stalmine case should not be used as a basis on which to decide whether this appeal is allowed. The SA 1/2 site is significantly different .

2.1 It is within close proximity to the Morecambe Bay/Wyre Estuary RAMSAR/SPA/SSSI. In fact it adjoins the FLL land which lies between Raikes Road and the Wyre estuary.

2.2 There was no allocation of land for a new primary school to be considered.

2.3 There was no adjacent land held in trust as permanent open space for “Meadow or Pasture land or for a public park or recreation ground”.

2.4 There was no unified system of drainage which needed to be agreed and put in place.

Given these considerations, it is essential for a Masterplan to be agreed and consulted upon before Phase 2 of the development can be approved.

3 Wainhomes claims that giving approval to Phase 2 would not undermine or prejudice the delivery of the wider allocation (i.e.Phase 3) in accordance with the KDCs of the Local Plan. Therefore the argument is that Phase 2 should go ahead. But Wainhomes is wrong. We have outlined 5 issues of concern which we believe negate its argument.

3.1 The provision of a new Primary School.

The latest written statement from the LEA (10th January 2020} states “At no point has phasing or timing of delivery of Phase 3 been discussed with LCC so LCC cannot agree to the proposed Phase 3 delivery.. . . . . The proposal to deliver the school in Phase 3 does not offer LCC any reassurances at the current time as the site may never come forward”. Thus there is still no clarity as to whether a new school will be needed, or in what Phase, or in what location.

The site allocated for a new school in the illustrative Masterplan raises issues about access for children, cars and delivery vehicles. It is essential that this is planned for the whole of the site.

Any suggestion that Stanah School should expand using land in Trust in exchange for land in Phases 2/3, adds another dimension to the uncertainty which means a Masterplan needs to consider the future use of the Trust land in consultation with all interested parties especially the residents.

3.2 Housing Mix

A Masterplan would ensure that 30% of the housing across the whole site would be affordable and the best locations found for affordable housing and for housing for the elderly. That would not happen if Phase 2 is given the go ahead at this stage.

3.3 Open Space Provision

It has been agreed that additional open space be provided within the site to reduce the pressures on the Wyre Estuary and the FLL associated with the Estuary. Tyler Grange’s recommendations incorporated by the appellant into the illustrative plan involve

New woodland planting in characteristic copses to avoid an urban appearance

Green routes and green lanes to connect open spaces and linear park

Phase 2 must be an integral part of the whole system. The need is for copses and green routes across the whole of the site.

Moreover, there has been a suggestion that the Trust land which is used for pasture, could be used for additional recreational land. Questions need to be asked about the viability of continuing to farm this land given that the area of farming would be drastically reduced in size when Phases 2/3 are developed. It becomes an isolated area with difficult access for farm vehicles. This needs to be looked in some detail, discussed with all parties and incorporated into the Masterplan with careful assessment of how the land is to be accessed.

4 Transport Issues

Two concerns have been raised which should be addressed through a Masterplan.

4.1 Mr Khan was not certain whether the Singleton By-pass which it is anticipated should solve the problems of traffic tailing back on Skippool Road in the morning rush hour, would actually start in 2020. Without that improvement any further development on SA 1/2 is unacceptable.

4.2 It is uncertain given the layout of the internal roads, the location of the new school and the location of a convenience store to serve a wide area, whether the access to Phase 2 will become the primary access to the development. In which case there would be safety issues given the location of the access point at the brow of a hill and the inside of a bend.

5 Drainage

We have brought to light the current unsatisfactory situation with regard to the construction of an outfall for surface water drainage to the Wyre Estuary. Water is draining from the site into the drains on Lamb’s Road and then adding to the flows in the pipes under Tarn Road and School Road, which eventually discharge into the Hillylaid Brook. This additional flow is causing considerable anxiety to home owners on Tarn and School Roads whose homes were flooded in November 2017.

Since the surface water Phase 2 will be discharged into the same system as Phase 1 and that the outlet from Phase 1 has not even been started, it is surely wrong that any approval be given to Phase 2 at this time.

6 There are two overall considerations which underlie this whole Inquiry.

6.1 The decision was taken to refuse the application for Phase 2 on the 6th September 2019. Since then work has progressed on a Masterplan to be agreed between the Council and the appellant and Common Ground has been agreed between the appellant and LCC Highways. There seems to be little agreement with the LEA as yet about the possible new school. But these matters were not resolved when the decision to refuse was taken. The decision of this Inquiry as to whether or not Wyre Council were correct to refuse the application for Phase 2 must be based on the situation as on the 6th September and not on what has happened subsequently.

6.2 Wainhomes argument is completely illogical. The argument is that the approval of Phase 2 will not undermine or prejudice the implementation of an agreed Masterplan. But there is no agreed Masterplan. No one can say that the Masterplan will be unaffected because they do not know what the Masterplan might be. Therefore the argument is completely illogical.

On this ground alone the appeal must be refused.