News Flash! Act NOW to Save Blainscough Medieval Moat and surrounding Green Field Site

I am a Lancashire Lass and have the good fortune of being brought up in a village that is steeped in history, heritage and has some of the most stunning and magical countryside surrounding it.

The village of Coppull, Lancashire lies between Worthington, Charnock Richard and Standish in the Chorley area and if you Google the above, you will see why I consider the above to have great neeighbouring countryside.

In Coppull you will find many beautiful sites, including Birkacre (Yarrow Valley Country Park), Coppull Moor, Hic Bibi Nature Reserve, Blainscough Wood Nature Reserve, Coppull Ring Mill (Enterprise Centre) and lots of surrounding agricultural and grazing land. Wherever you go in Coppull you are sure to cross water, with rivers, streams and brooks running around and through the village and there are many public footpaths to guide you on your way, including a Roman road. If you Google Coppull, there are several dedicated websites to show you the sights and history of the village.

Recently (very recently and with little time to act on this – by 5pm on Monday, 31st January 2011) the surrounding countryside has been threatened with Chorley Council deciding where the sites for ‘Local Development Framework’ – that is ‘safeguarding’ for housing, employment and leisure. Coppull is becoming an overstretched village (7,631 2001 census) with several new housing projects added since then.

Medieval Moat at Blainscough

One such area that has been threatened is the land at Grange Estate and Blainscough Lane/Works. This is where Blainscough Hall, the Medieval Moat and Blainscough Wood Nature Reserve are situated.

Roman Road at Blainscough

Please support the campaign to stop the proposed development of housing on and around Blainscough Lane, Blainscough Works and land on the Grange Estate in Coppull, nr Chorley, Lancashire. The 9 acres of land being considered land includes Blainscough Wood Nature Reserve, land near to Blainscough Hall, a Medieval Moat and 6 acres of green field land, that is good grazing/agricultural land and has 5 public footpaths. The land is steeped in history and is part of an essential wildlife corridor. The proposals to develop this land for housing goes against public interest and goes against Lancashire’s stated policy to protect, enhance and safeguard heritage, biological and geological assets from inappropriate development.

Local Development Framework for Lancashire – Sites in Chorley

Coppull Parish Council, Councillor Don Hoyland and residents of the Grange Estate, Coppull, nr Chorley, Lancashire would like to bring to your attention a scheme which is currently looking at land in Lancashire, which will provide sites for housing, employment and recreation over the next 15 years.  In December, a ‘Sites for Chorley – Issues and Options Discussion Paper’ was issued, with the main aim giving everyone a chance to comment on these site suggestions.

There has been information of the Parish Council noticeboards in Coppull, however, as a Parish Councillor living in the Grange Estate, Don Hoyland is aware that it has not been well publicised by Chorley Council and so wishes to bring  to your notice  3 of the suggested sites, which are the fields directly South of the Grange Estate. The Parish Council is writing to object to these sites, but the more objections the planners receive, especially from individuals, the better.

The Discussion Paper can be seen at Coppull Library, the Town Hall (01257 515151) as well as on their website: www.Chorley.gov.uk/planning. To see the information on this site click on ‘Local Development Framework’, then ‘Site Specific Allocations DP’. The relevant information is on page 61 of this document with a map on page 65. The 3 sites (SC0024, CH0047 and CH0251) are described as being ‘areas of safeguarded land’. This does not mean areas safeguarded from housing, employment and leisure, but safeguarded for those items. All 3 sites have been put forward by the landowner, for housing.

If we do nothing, allow the land to await the finer details of planning, then some of the following pictures could become a thing of the past – GONE FOREVER – feel free to copy them to your computer to ensure you’ll always get to see them!!!

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If you are a resident of the village of Coppull then you can put our objections in writing – if you are not but still wish to support the campaign to object, then please re-tweet on Twitter (including the hash tags #) or publish this link on your Facebook page. All support is gratefully accepted.

Responses for objection must arrive by Monday, 31st January 2011 – which is very short notice! You may write a letter, but they would prefer you to use their forms. You can complete the Representation Form online at the above website, or download and print the form, which you can then complete and return to them either by email at Planning.policy@Chorley.gov.uk or by mail to Sites for Chorley, FREEPOST, Central Lancashire LDF. The forms can also be handed in at Chorley Council Civic Offices, Union Street, Chorley during the day of Monday, 31st January 2011, but must be  received prior to 5.00 pm. Representation Forms are also available at the Chorley Council Civic Offices , the Town Hall and local libraries. In addition you can collect one from Councillor Don Hoyland, 62 Manor Way (off Grange Drive, both part of The Grange Estate). If you wish to hand the forms back to him, he will ensure they are with Chorley Council by the due date.

If you wish to object to these proposals  or even to support the scheme, some facts are given below, which might help you.  It is not a viable argument to claim it will reduce the value of a house or spoil the view – it has to be something which goes against the public interest or contradicts Lancashire’s stated policy. They want responses which arise from local knowledge. Below are some of the facts of the case and arguments which you might want to use:

Among their Core Strategy Objectives, are some to ‘protect, enhance and safeguard heritage, biological and geological assets from inappropriate development’.

Coppull sites CS0024, CH0047 (1 & 2) and CH0251 together cover about 9 acres. Site 251 and the Western half of site 47, totalling about 6 acres, are currently green field sites, good grazing land, with public footpaths 34, 35 and 36 running through them and paths 37 and 99 running alongside. They are well used and much appreciated footpaths. The Grange Estate is North of the proposed sites, but on the other 3 sides are Green Belt and Blainscough Wood Nature Reserve.

The land includes the historical medieval ‘moat’ traces of which can still be seen.

There are 3 main concerns:

  1. If used for housing then Blainscough Wood Nature Reserve would become isolated from the surrounding countryside. The fields proposed for ‘development’ are an essential wildlife corridor, without which Blainscough’s usefulness as a wildlife area would be limited and effectively, stopped.  What is now a small but successful Nature Reserve, would become little more than an open space within the village, in which to walk dogs.
  2. It goes against the Core Strategy Objectives for Protecting and Enhancing the Built and Natural Environment, which say they will “Protect and enhance heritage, biological and geological assets across Central Lancashire” and “Safeguard environmental assets in Chorley from  inappropriate development”. The 3 sites concerned are currently good grazing / agricultural land and also form an essential wildlife corridor to Blainscough Wood Nature Reserve. They should not be built on, or Lancashire County Council and Chorley Council will go against their own promises to protect, enhance and safeguard biological assets.
  3. Access. If more housing is to be accessed through the existing road junction, onto Spendmore Lane, then the extra traffic will be more than the roads can cope with. It is a badly designed junction with bad visibility. If access is along Blainscough Lane, then this would also be inadequate and it has poor access onto an even busier main road – Preston Road.

Coppull Parish Plan 2005, showed clearly that most Coppull residents greatly value being close to the green fields, that having Green Belt round Coppull is important to them and that they value the excellent access to nature and wildlife. They also feel that the character of the village is changing and that more housing will destroy it as a community. It does not seem that any notice has been taken of the Parish Plan and the wishes of the residents when Coppull was designated an “Urban Local Service Centre”.

 

In addition:  (notes not written by the Parish Council, but relevant comments from residents of the village)

Further arguments for access are that the junction of Grange Drive and Spendmore Lane already has a dangerous access route (the roundabout near to Tansley Avenue), which is extremely difficult junction to pull out of, with bad visibility exiting the junction and also for oncoming vehicles crossing the path of those exiting this junction. This has been noted by residents to the LCC, Chorley Council and in local PACT meetings on many an occasion and is a problem that the Parish Council are aware of. The alternative route of Blainscough Lane/Preston Road would also be inadequate and poor access onto an already busy main road. Both access routes would create traffic near to schools, but arguably  so to the already congested area outside St. Oswald’s Primary School which is currently single file traffic during the start and end of the school day and also around St. John’s school were traffic calming measures have been rejected and in short, will not be added until there is a fatality – not something we want to add to the possibility of, by allowing a new busy junction in this area.

Staying with the influence on schools, there are currently only 3 faith schools and 1 community school in the village with a maximum intake for all 4 schools being 115 children. 

* Primary School Admissions in Lancashire yellow information book for 2011/12 states that “Children who live withing the ecclesiastical parish of St. John the Divine, Coppull Church or Spendmore Lane Methodist Church” have a higher priority than “Children whose parents live outside the ecclesiastical parish of St. John the Divine, Coppull Church or Spendmore Lane Methodist Church” (including):

a) Children who have a sibling attending the school on the date of the application and on the date of admission.

b) Children with a parent/guardian worshipping in a church in membership of Churches Together in England.

c) Other children.

“Where there are more applicants for the available places within a category, then the distance between the Ordnance Survey address points for the school and the home are measured in a straight line will be used as the final determining factor, nearest addresses having priority over  more distant ones.”   A housing project of this size would make it almost impossible for parents to choose a school for their children and given that this area is under the Parish of St. John’s School (with a maximum intake of only 20 children) then any children that live within the area that is subject to proposed new housing , will have priority (given their radial distance from the school). If the criteria remains the same and the school in over-subscribed, this will leave  children who were expecting  to attend this school (including siblings of those already at the school or those who worship and contribute to the church and school) having to find places either at the community school or in another village.

The local health service to the village is at risk, with residents of the village already having to choose G.P. practices in neighbouring towns and villages.  A housing project of this size would almost certainly have an effect on the service that Acreswood Surgery could provide and the intake of patients.

There is great concern within the areas that have recently been developed (in the last 10 years) that the County Council and Chorley Council are making ‘little’ effort to adopt the roads within them and the responsibility of the services within them. There is evidence that poor lighting (or none in some cases), damage to play areas, blocked drains, damage to roads, kerbs and pavements have gone without attention and in some cases not ever dealt with. This has led to an increase in anxiety with residents and a noted increase in crime (where areas that have poor or no lighting and bushes remain overgrown have encouraged alcohol abuse and loitering from teenagers and cars and homes have been broken into). This concern is expected to continue for as long as the Council refuses to take on these responsibilities and is expected to extend into any new housing developments in the area. The residents believe that some of these issues have put additional pressure on the local policing of the area (where cut backs are being made and therefore any new developments will add extra strain to).

 The land in question has been left untouched and preserved  and protected for a long time and is a massively important part of our heritage in Coppull. The boundaries of the community are being pushed out further and further, leaving little land for walkers, wildlife and for our children to appreciate and our grandchildren to inherit the pleasure of.

The character of our village is changing, the pressure of school admissions is increasing, traffic concerns and accident spots will rise and local amenities and the community as a whole, with rising numbers of residency and less countryside, would be seriously affected – if even more housing was considered.

The people of Coppull value their countryside and will not lie down and accept the destruction of essential wildlife and Green Belt areas. We will campaign to protect our environment and will object to the building of housing in these areas. It certainly does not seem that any notice has been taken of the Parish Plan and the wishes of the residents when Coppull was designated as an ‘Urban Local Service Area’.

Please support the campaign to object to any plans for housing, employment and leisure in the areas named sites CS0024, CH0047and CH0251 and protect the natural environment in the Blainscough Lane and Grange Estate areas, as well as preventing the damaging effects it will have on the community as a whole.

Please log onto the website: www.Chorley.gov.uk/planning and complete the online Representation Form or download it, complete and return by email to Planning.policy@Chorley.gov.uk  or hand in the completed form, also available from Chorley Council Civic offices, Union Street, Chorley, the Town Hall and local libraries by 5.00 pm on Monday, 31st January 2011 at the very latest.

I hope to supply a link here shortly to the History of Coppull, a fabulous piece of writing and catalogue of historical events by Ronne Parkinson (permission pending).

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About HonieMummy (HonieBuk)

Mum of two girls (16 & 9) and step-Mum to one boy (15). All of whom are bright, fun-loving, creative and musical and make me proud and despite his disability (CP) my step-son and family face challenges with a smile and the will to succeed. Love to travel (mainly US/Canada/Scotland), passionate about photography, music is a must, always in HoniesKitchen, love a bit of crafting and I'm learning to knit (maybe even crochet). I'm a networking junkie and of course there has to be time (quality time) with my amazing family! I like to Blog infrequently whenever it takes my fancy and I don't mind sharing my ups and downs, advice and querky ideas with you all. I will mostly post recipes and photos of food, family and travel. I love to review products that my family and me would use - I kinda consider it my 'duty' to let you all know if something is as good as it says on the tin and a 'must buy' product, that all families should know about. Find these in HonieLikes. If you like what you see, please tell me - I work hard at these things :o)
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