Two Longridge businesses are putting together plans to develop a site on the southern outskirts of the town which planning experts believe could provide a solution to the housing challenge facing the community.
Local building company W Monks and S & N Forshaw, say the 20-hectare Grimbaldeston Farm site, off Preston Road, could play a key role in meeting the future residential development needs of the town.
The consortium believes the site could be developed to create between 250 and 400 new homes for the local population, including much-needed houses for first time buyers and retirement homes for the elderly.
Planning experts who have been working with the two companies say any development on the land would form a natural extension to the growing town.
Crucially, the site is to the south of the town centre and, the experts say, it would have less impact on the community than other proposed development sites to the north of Longridge.
An existing housing development is currently been constructed on land next to the site and the experts say Grimbaldeston Farm is “readily developable.”
The Forshaws and W Monks have appointed two planning experts to look at the potential for the site: Preston-based PWA Planning and JWPC, which is based in Lancaster.
They have been in conversation with Ribble Valley planners over the proposal as well as opening negotiations with a quality house-builder to develop the plans further.
The project they are considering could also include small scale commercial development; plans to refurbish and improve local sporting facilities and help with the project to develop a Longridge to Preston cycle path.
Paul Walton, director of PWA Planning, said: “The landowners have been promoting the area as a suitable and sustainable location for development through the development plan process.
“The Core Strategy, as it emerges, provides for increased numbers of new houses in Longridge during the plan period, and we believe this site has considerable merit in meeting these needs.”
William Monks, one of the trustees for part of the land, said: “We know there are alternative development sites being promoted in other parts of the town.
“We want to be certain our site is not disregarded as we believe it would be the most suitable site to meet future development needs.
“We believe it is essential for the Council to consider all options so they can determine the best sites.”
Neil Forshaw, one of the landowners, said: “Grimbaldeston Farm is owned by Longridge people, who live and work here and who recognise the challenges the community faces when it comes to meeting the housing needs the council has been charged to meet.
“We believe the site offers a solution to the local authority that will have less of an impact on the community and could provide affordable housing for local families and for the elderly, which is much needed.”
Stuart Booth, Associate at JWPC, added: “Developing the site also presents opportunities to improve the provision of open spaces and could potentially open up access to the wider employment areas and provide land for commercial development.
“Given the size of the site, we feel a suitably-scaled development to the southern side of the town can provide over a longer period the required growth of Longridge now fixed in the Core Strategy.
“And this can be delivered in a sustainable and well-planned manner.
“The site is to the south of the town centre, unlike other proposals, and would be a natural extension of the community. It sits next to a current development site and has easy access to Preston Road.
“All these are positives for the council and the community when it comes to developing plans for the new homes that it will have to build to meet its housing quota over the next 14 years.”