Controversy as councillor backs plan

The site of the Standish Court Golf Club
The site of the Standish Court Golf Club

A COUNCILLOR today welcomed the controversial decision to approve mass house building in Standish.

Coun Emma McGurrin believes that affordable housing is one of the biggest issues for young people in the township and has been in active negotiation with potential developers about increasing this share.

Government inspector Kevin Ward infuriated some sections of the community last week by overturning the council’s own recommendation for the Core Strategy and transferring a 1,000 homes planning expectation from Lowton and Golborne to Standish.

Standish Independent councillors, George and Gareth Fairhurst, are strongly urging town hall planners to seek a Judicial Review to fight the move.

The two councillors are claiming that such a “massive” increase in homes in Standish will overwhelm its infrastructure and cause a flight of existing home owners fearful of what is to come.

The homes are likely to be built on part of Bradley Hall Trading Estate, land between the trading estate and Rectory Lane, plus the failed former Standish Court Golf Course site.

But Labour’s Coun Emma McGurrin said that the surprise decision will benefit Standish and its residents in the long term. She said: “My understanding is that the Core Strategy decision covers the two sites.

“One will hugely benefit the trading estate business and ensures future employment and business there.

“While the other, on the golf club, also ensures leisure, youth and community facilities via the £2.15m Section 106 money paid by the developers for Standish and supported by me.

“It is better to negotiate than alienate in this situation and get the best for the needs of Standish residents young and old.

“There are further talks ongoing and I shall speak up appropriately and strongly for Standish needs during negotiations to get the best deal for Standishers and the future of Standish as a unique village.”

Coun McGurrin, who is a planning committee member on tyhe council, has agreed to forfeit the right to vote on the scheme recently lodged with the town hall by joint developer Persimmon / Morris Homes, by speaking out strongly in favour ahead of the decision making.

Their 250 home mixed-use application is served by a new roundabout access to Rectory Lane.

And the application also includes leisure facilities and informal recreational parkland on the former golf centre.

It is now likely to be heard by the council’s planning committee later this summer.

She is now intending to hold a referendum across the township to establish the true level of support for the scheme.

A spokesman for Morris and Persimmon said that the housing scheme would provide an “immediate contribution” to the Government’s intention to boost the supply of houses.

The spokesman said: “It will help to satisfy the size, type, tenure and range of housing that is required in Standish, reflecting local demand and the site is available and deliverable now.

“In bringing back a redundant site into beneficial use, it will also enhance leisure provision for the community.”