Thursday, 10 April 2014

Luneside East Developer responds to local complaints. Council issues TPOs

Persimmon Homes have responded to local residents' complaints about their recent planning application for Luneside East (see previous news: Luneside East Planning Application breaks promises, residents claim). Residents had complained that the plans include removal of part of the old railway embankment and its trees, and also an access route via Long Marsh Lane, although they had received assurances from the Council that such changes would not be part of any development.

Persimmon's public relations company Connect PR have today
forwarded the following statement to Virtual-Lancaster:
LUNESIDE EAST DEVELOPMENT, LANCASTER
In a joint statement, Guy Illingworth, director of land owner Luneside East Limited, and Mark Cook, managing director of Persimmon Homes Lancashire, said: 
“Luneside East was identified as a key regeneration site more than 15 years ago with outline planning consent gained initially in 2001.
“We have worked extensively with the Planning Authority to form viable proposals that make full use of the site within the parameters of that outline approval. Following close consultation with the Assistant Head of Regeneration and Planning, we have now submitted a reserved matters application. 
“The proposal seeks to create 170 much-needed homes for local people, including 24 that are specifically designated as affordable.  
 “There will be direct access via Long Marsh Lane to a limited number of the properties, all with off-street parking. Safe cycle and pedestrian links only will be maintained through to the wider development, along with an innovatively-designed central area of public open space as advised by the Council. 
“We await the decision from Lancaster City Council and remain hopeful that the development can be brought forward in the near future.”
Coun Jon Barry told Virtual-Lancaster that, in light of the undertakings given by the City Council to residents during the consultation processes:

"The Council could have put steps in place - given that it previously owned the land - to ensure that the embankment was protected. For example, it could have kept hold of a ransom strip of land by the embankment or it could have put on a legal covenant about the embankment. Leaving 'protection' to the planning process is a very risky way of doing things. For example, even if the application is turned down, the developers could easily win on appeal."

We understand that the City Council has now placed Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) on the trees on the embankment. This means that they cannot be felled until the planning application has been considered. The TPO can, however, be changed by the results of the planning application.

Tree-felling in Freeman's Wood 2012
Since trees in nearby Freeman's wood were felled on land belonging to the Bermuda-based Property Trust Group, in association with their partners, development consultants Satnam, in open breach of the Council's Tree Preservation Orders (see previous news: Freeman's Wood - TPO upheld at Appeal Hearing) back in 2012, Luneside residents might be forgiven for doubting that an award of a TPO from the Council might offer any protection in reality.

Persimmon's' planning application 13/01200/REM is due to come before Lancaster City Council Planning Committee at Lancaster Town Hall at 10.30am on Tuesday 6 May.

Residents have started a petition at Change.org (you can see it here) to oppose the application.

See previous news: Luneside East Planning Application breaks promises, residents claim

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