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Chorley Council leader tells Government to stop interfering
8:00am Thursday 14th February 2013 in News
The leader of Chorley Council has written a strongly worded letter calling on the Government to back its decisions on housing developments in the borough.
The council is demanding assurances that it will allow local people to take local decisions after a series of planning applications were overturned on appeal.
Council leader Alistair Bradley said: “The people of Chorley are absolutely fed up of seeing application after application for homes on greenfield sites being refused by the local council only to be overturned on appeal.
“It got to such a stage last year that we felt we couldn’t even decide applications based on the local plan because it seemed the view of an inspector, who would probably have no prior knowledge of Chorley, would ride roughshod over our future plans for the borough.
“We have a large supply of housing in Chorley and there are many brownfield sites yet to be developed so we think it’s wrong that planning inspectors are saying plans for housing on greenfield sites should get the go-ahead now.”
The issue came to a head last year when an inspector approved plans for 135 homes at Lucas Lane, Whittle-le-Woods.
That led to the authority approving an application for 160 homes on Bolton Road, Adlington, because it felt it had no other option, due to the previous decisions of the planning inspectorate.
The authority asked the Secretary of State to call in the Bolton Road application but he declined to do so.
However, in the response from him it said that ‘local authorities are normally best placed to make decisions relating to their areas and it is right that in general, they should be free to carry out their duties responsibly, with the minimum of interference’.
Coun Bradley said: “The letter I’ve written on behalf of the authority is to seek assurances that the Government intends to stick by the words they sent us and that we will now start to see decisions being weighted in favour of what the local council, and more importantly, what the people of Chorley want.”