Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Residents Rally Against Denny Beck Development Threat

Under threat from potential development. Photo courtesy Janet Taylor
The Denny Beck Residents Action Group is gaining support in its campaign to protect a huge area of nearby Lancaster countryside that could be earmarked for housing and industrial development if the Local Plan goes ahead as outlined in the near future.

The Local Plan currently being considered after consultation has identified a number of sites all over Lancaster for potential development, including Denny Beck - the UE2 site.

Land identified for potential development
Going, going gone? Countryside that will all be lost if plans go ahead
Under threat as part of the plan is Grimeshaw Lane, one of the oldest and untouched lanes in the district which, if it were a building, would surely be listed. An ancient byway, it runs between the A683 and Ridge Lane in East Lancaster and dates back to pre-Conquest and has never been touched.

The Lane is part of the Witches Walk 400 and some local historians suggest is the most likely route that the Pendle Witches took on their way to Lancaster Castle.

Clay Pit Wood and Moss Syke Wood, which are also part of the site, are ancient and have been put under a Tree Protection Order.

As you can imagine, the threat to the countryside so close to Lancaster - popular not only with local residents but walkers, runners and nature lovers - has been greeted with dismay. As an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, local campaigners have gained support against the proposals from the Ramblers Association, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the(PD F)

"We have worked tirelessly to save this part of our Lancashire heritage and wildlife," says Denny Beck Action Group organiser Janet Taylor.

"We have to try and fight the Council. The Labour group and most Conservatives are for this."

"Grimeshaw Lane was part of the old York to Lancaster road and possibly has a plague stone," she continues. "The lane has ancient hedgerows and development would destroy an area that has been untouched for possibly a millennium."

Campaigners know they have a tough battle. Without a Local Plan, developers can more easily apply for planning permission willy nilly, as they have done elsewhere in the country, but, equally, earmarking swathes of the countryside for industrial development is not going down well with local residents.

Launched last October, the Group has already written a report on the reasons UE2 is not suitable for development (PDF link), which includes documentation from bodies supporting their claims.

"We were flooded quite badly on Denny Beck Lane on the 5th December last year and people are rightly worried that building next to the river will increase the flood risk, as we hear now that wetter weather is to become the norm.," says Janet. "The increased levels River Lune forseen by the Environment Agency means there is more flooding to come.

• If you think Denny Beck should remain an Area of Outstanding Beauty, you can find the Denny Beck Action Group on Facebook or contact Janet to receive the latest newsletters about their campaign via tayj21(at)yahoo.com 

Web Links

• View the proposals on the City Council's planning portal at: https://www.lancaster.gov.uk/planning/planning-policy/people-homes-jobs-plan-district-s-future

Read residents objections to the Local Plan (PDF)

Ancient Roads and Trackways in Quernmore/Lancaster (Archeology UK PDF)

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