Mary Rose’s letter on Bailrigg Garden Village (see below) offers a counter to subtext’s mildly optimistic tone. As Prof Rose reminds us, many Galgate residents are unconvinced that city council planners are taking their concerns about future development – on traffic, air quality and especially flooding – seriously.
The city council planning committee’s recent decision to permit development at Ward Field Farm has particularly annoyed villagers. Ward Field Farm is on your left as you leave Galgate on the A6 northbound and its land abuts the north bank of the River Conder. Given the ongoing serious risk of flooding, one might expect an application to build houses there to receive short shrift. Not so. The landowner now has permission to build up to 68 houses on the site and the tenant farmer faces eviction.
Conveniently for the landowner, Ward Field Farm lies just outside the Bailrigg Garden Village zone – if it lay within the zone then permission would probably have been refused, since the plans for Bailrigg make clear the importance of protecting the ‘buffer’ between Galgate and Lancaster, and not doing anything to increase the flood risk.
But surely, given that every other square inch of land between Lancaster and Galgate comes under the remit of the garden village consultation, it’d be premature, to say the least, to let a developer build on Ward Field Farm before the final shape of the garden village is known? Not so – as the council officers reminded the planning committee, ‘refusal of planning permission on the grounds of prematurity will seldom be justified where a draft Local Plan has yet to be submitted for examination.’ In other words, until we finalise the Local Plan, it remains open season in places like Ward Field Farm. Ho hum.
Hence the vote by 6 (Labour) to 5 (Conservatives and Greens) to approve the development plans. Read all about it at https://committeeadmin.lancaster.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=39599
KEEPING IT CLASSY
Presented with such an open goal, how have the Conservatives been behaving? We’re pleased to report that their opposition campaign has so far been robust and dignified, with one of their more colourful councillors berating Lancaster & Fleetwood MP Cat Smith this week in a self-penned press release that subtext was lucky enough to receive directly from the author. Blaming the MP for Labour councillors proposing to build ‘thousands more houses in Galgate’ (‘thousands’ meaning ’68’), the press release lamented her ‘refus[al] to meet with her residents from the CLOUD campaign’, and slammed her as ‘out of touch’ and an ‘absent MP.’
On an entirely unrelated note, subtext would like to send its best wishes to the ‘absent’ Cat Smith, who is heavily pregnant and awaiting the imminent birth of her first child.