RESIDENTS in Euxton are celebrating after an independent planning inspector dismissed a developer’s appeal against Chorley Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for 165 homes at Pear Tree Lane.

It is an important victory for the authority in its quest to ensure the borough’s greenfield sites are not swallowed up by major developments.

The inspector cited the council’s ability to demonstrate it had enough areas earmarked for future housing, meaning it could save this cherished piece of land from development.

Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “I know that residents feel there is too much house building in Chorley but we have targets set by the Government that we have to achieve.

“If we can’t demonstrate where the 417 homes per year can be built then it will become open season and developers will be able to cherry pick our most precious pieces of land.

“This decision shows that by having a plan in place we can control development and stop houses being built all over the place and in areas that we want to protect.”

The piece of land earmarked for this development is currently allocated as safeguarded land. That means the land may be suitable for development in the longer term but is not required at this time and plays an important role in acting as a natural break between areas that are already developed.

The application was strongly objected to by the local community with 142 objections being submitted to Chorley Council.

“It was vital that we were able to defend our case successfully because if this application was approved on appeal it could have set a precedent and would have seen developers looking to build housing on other areas of safeguarded land,” said Councillor Bradley.

“We are the only local authority in Lancashire to consistently hit our targets for the number of new homes built each year and it’s important we make our case to Government that we have been doing our fair share and that other areas should shoulder more of the burden going forward.

“Residents are quite rightly pointing out that there is a lot of pressure on local services such as schools and community facilities and it is our job to continue to make that case to others and we’ll continue to oppose development that is in inappropriate places.”

The planning application, submitted by Gladman Developments, would have seen 165 homes, planting and landscaping, a children’s play area and new access points off School Lane.

Dismissing the appeal the government-appointed planning inspector Anne Jordan said: “I have attributed substantial weight to the harm that would arise as a result of the loss of this site as safeguarded land within the plan period.

“In this case, bearing in mind the adequacy of housing supply locally, the intention of the framework to increase and diversify housing provision does not outweigh the important strategic aim of protecting the green belt through the identification and protection from development of safeguarded land and the core principle of controlling the scale and location of development through the plan-led system.”