Councillors and members of the public asked the Leader a variety of questions that related to letters that had been sent to local residents across the Borough. The letters all related to consultation on future use of land at Bridge Road, Balcarres Green, Kingsfold Drive, McKenzie Arms and Bent Lane.
A large number of residents attended the meeting and spoke passionately about the open spaces in their areas. People were concerned that the Council were looking to build housing on the land and the opinion was expressed that this decision had already been made in September last year.
In response to the numerous questions on this subject the Leader responded by saying:
The Leader understood that the decision taken in September 2018 was to investigate the areas mentioned, to ascertain future use of the land and reiterated that no decision on how the land would be developed at been made.
The Council is now at the stage of consultation and letters have been sent out to a much wider area of residents to ensure that everyone affected is given the chance to engage in the process.
The Green Links consultation would run for a six week period, being launched on 18 February with a drop-in session taking place at Leyland Leisure Centre, between 4pm to 8pm. Officers and Members would be in attendance to answer any questions or concerns and the Leader encouraged all residents to attend to have their say and help to shape Green Links across the Borough.
Residents of Bent Lane would be invited to attend a Planning for Real event at the Civic Centre, Leyland on 28 February commencing at 6pm whereby the community can input into the future plans and designs for their local area.
The Leader added that she was understanding of the emotive and contrasting views of local residents but is mindful that not everybody wants the same thing and that’s why it is extremely important to listen to what people want and need.
The Borough has a lot of parks and open spaces that ranged from the larger parks of Worden and Hurst Grange to small areas of open space or grassed areas on residential developments. 68% of the Borough is Green Belt land and it is vital that the urban areas have adequate green spaces designated as well, that is why it is so important for the Council to consult with the local residents.
The air quality of the Borough is also extremely important to this authority and that is why the Council has produced a five year strategy that will be used to place pressure on key partners such as Lancashire County Council and developers to gain acceptable levels across South Ribble. Traffic volumes and their movement is a real concern and a key priority for the Council. It is vital that the right infrastructure is in place to alleviate this problem and the Leader gave assurances that the Council are working extremely hard on this issue to ensure infrastructure is in place first before development.
The health and wellbeing of its residents is of the upmost important to this Council and all aspects including use of open spaces, air quality and affordable housing are key in achieving this.
To conclude the Leader reiterated the Council’s commitment to engage with its residents and urged people to get involved with the consultation so that everyone’s views can be taken into account and that any decision made in the future is the right one.
Councillor David Howarth asked the Leader is she thought that supporting local business by use of a local procurement strategy would be of benefit to the Borough.
The Leader agreed that it was and would provide a more detailed response outside of the meeting.
The Leader of the Opposition asked the Leader to confirm if Councillor Colin Clark was factually right when he stated at a previous Council meeting that no affordable housing would be built in Longton and Hutton areas, because none was required.
The Leader responded to clarify that Councillor Colin Clark was referring to a recent Housing Needs Survey that had been undertaken.