My ire is rising.
Nick Hall has received permission for the three property development at the Old School
When I take together the individual planning application decisions in respect of 18 properties at Whittington Farm (approved) three properties at the Old School (approved) and four properties at The Dragons Head (refused) I am drawn towards questioning the impartiality of Lancaster City Council Planning Department, headed by Andrew Dobson.
Access to Whittington Farm and the Old School are on two of the most dangerous corners in the village. These corners are the locations of the only vehicular accidents to have occurred in the Village since the horse drawn Post Office cart was replace by a motorised one at the turn of the 19th Century.
The Dragons head access on the other hand is on the only straight stretch of road between Low Hall and Church Street.
There is absolutely zero compatibility of design between the dwellings planned for the Farm and ANY of the surrounding properties. In addition they would be fully visible from the road and stand out like a sore thumb.
The Victorian Society have objected strongly to the proposed changes to the Old School, drawing particular attention to the inclusion of new roof lights, which are totally out of character with all the surrounding properties. The three properties have been valued by Hackney and Leigh at £1.02 million and will have parking for eight cars.
How any planning authority in its right mind can think that access to this tightly constricted site, between two solid stone walls which are at or above the drivers head height in some vehicles, and on one of the most dangerous corners in the whole of the village, especially when vision is impaired by pedestrians on either the footpath, or the public right of way to the Village Church which runs perpendicular and adjacent to the entrance, I do not know. It will be impossible for one vehicle to exit and another enter, at the same time, therefore blocking a busy road.
Exactly how the new build can be in keeping with the 1875 form of the Old School on one side and the postwar style of the bungalow next door on the other side, heaven only knows. Indeed if one considers all the immediately surrounding properties, on both sides of the road, I would be challenged to determine any commonality of style, and I have a Diploma in Architecture (circa 1961 so well past it’s sell by date). I would also add that the entirety of the Old School as well as the frontage of Whittington Farm, including the Farm House, are within the Whittington Conservation Area. The conservation area ends at the kitchen door at the back of the Dragons head and none of the proposed new development there is within it.
The development proposed for the Dragons Head would not have been visible from the main road. The current access to the property hasn’t changed since the beginning of the 20th century, and indeed has had caravan traffic for at least the last twenty years. How the traffic from three properties (the old stable, called a barn in the planning documents having been used daily in respect of storage for a building repair and maintenance business until ten years ago) can be considered to produce any significant increase in traffic is derisory.
Calling the outbuilding a Barn implies that it has had some reasonable status. When it was a stable providing conveyance for the residents of the Dragons Head, of which, in 1930, there were three families comprising eight people with Mrs. Willan as the Landlady then it did have a purpose, but to call it a barn is to overstate the fact it was a mere outbuilding in which the establishment horse lived. It has been a leaking wreck desperately in need of repair for over forty years. Even the most tasteless of development would be a magnificent enhancement to the surrounding area.
I am not decrying the Farm or School developments, but I do think that the proposal for the Farm greatly exceeds any likely need within a ten mile radius within Lancashire. My beef is that I cannot see how the Dragons Head, which after all is a desperately needed community asset, can be rejected when the other two developments are beyond the scope of any local need. and at a selling price for the two developments exceeding £4,500,000.
There was once a Ffolly at Sellet Mill corner I have a feeling that we are considering two more.
Or am I missing something?