Executive homes plan for Preston land once earmarked for park

The triangular plot where 11 homes are planned, west of Sandy Lane in Preston
-Credit: (Image: Google)


An executive housing estate could be built on land that was originally intended to form part of a new park in suburban Preston. Plans have been submitted for an 11-home development of four and five-bedroomed detached houses on a site off Sandy Lane in Lower Bartle.

The small plot – just south of the Woodplumpton and District Sports Club – sits within the sprawling North West Preston Masterplan area, where around 5,500 homes are due to be created over the two decades through to the mid-2030s. However, the spot now being lined up for the cluster of prestigious properties was earmarked in the initial masterplan blueprint as a section of the new ‘linear park’ that is to be carved out of the rapidly-developing location.

But it seems that a reduction in the ‘buffer zone’ required around a row of pylons that runs through the site has powered up the proposal for it to be used for housing instead. It follows a decision taken by Preston City Council’s planning committee in March 2023, when members gave the green light to a 455-dwelling Wain Homes development to the south of the site now under consideration.

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That project included a 30-metre housebuilding exclusion around the pylons – with the unused land instead to be given over to the park. However, the buffer was half the width of that deemed necessary to surround the electrical superstructures when the masterplan was drawn up back in 2017.

According to the application for the 11-home estate, that change – based on guidance from the government’s Stakeholder Advisory Group on Extremely Low Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields – has now made the smaller plot viable for development.

It said: “At the time of preparing the masterplan, it was understood that, due to the voltage of the electricity pylons, a built development buffer of 60m from the pylons mid-point was required to protect the health of future occupiers living adjacent to the power lines. A 60m buffer would make the site undevelopable and so the site was included in the West Metropolitan Park,” documents submitted with the proposal explained.

The new estate is described as “a logical infill development” within the wider housebuilding taking place on surrounding sites. Public open space would still be provided within the reduced buffer zone of the electricity pylons, connecting to other green spaces and parkland to the east and west of Sandy Lane.

The applicant – Bridgewater Land and Developments Ltd. – claims that its proposed housing would take up just 0.09 percent of the land within the masterplan area that was originally due to be used for “green infrastructure”. The firm’s planning statement adds that the plot is in private ownership – without any public access to it – and that it was “not viable for the landowner to give the site over to parkland”.

The linear park is the westernmost of two ‘metropolitan parks’ planned for North West Preston. Its counterpart is intended to be of a more formal civic design, with landscaped gardens and play areas.