5. Development and Economy

5.1.

"Building for a Sustainable Future"

The policies in this chapter aim to meet the development requirements of the community y directing development to locations which help to create sustainable communities and minimise the need to travel. This reflects the Government's aim to deliver their objectives in a sustainable way. It also delivers the Spatial Development Framework of the Regional Spatial Strategy and the Joint Lancashire Structure Plan by directing most development to Skelmersdale and the majority of the remaining development to Ormskirk and Burscough.

5.2.

This chapter builds upon one of the key aims of West Lancashire's Community Strategy: to develop a prosperous economy with thriving businesses which provide quality jobs for local people. It also reflects the fact that people want better quality housing and more attractive neighbourhoods.

5.3.

The policies reflect the results of the consultation which showed that most people support a lower rate of house building in the future with a high proportion to be built on previously developed land.They also reflect the general view that affordable housing is needed especially in the smaller towns and villages. Although the consultation did not reveal unanimity on employment and town centre issues, it was generally recognised that a wide range of employment sites in accessible locations, including some small sites in villages, would help to create sustainable communities. It was also felt that tourism uses could be provided through rural diversification.

POLICY DE1 - Residential Development View Map of this site ?

The housing requirement for West Lancashire, set out in the Joint Lancashire Structure Plan 2001 - 2016, of 3,390 dwellings for 2001 - 2016, will be met from the following sources:-

  1. Completions between April 2001 - March 2004 and existing commitments (excluding replacement dwellings) as set out below:-
 

No. Dwellings 

(i) Completions April 2001 - March 2004 

1,280 

(ii) Dwellings with planning permission @31/3/04 

1,403 

(iii) Dwellings on windfall sites granted permission 1/4/04 to 2/8/04 

41 

(iv) Dwellings on windfall sites - applications delegated by Committee, awaiting completion of S106 agreements @ 2/8/04

53 

Total

2,777

  1. Due to the large number of existing commitments, new residential development, including the renewal of existing planning consents, will only be granted for:-
    1. the conversion of buildings within the main urban areas of Skelmersdale, Ormskirk /Aughton and Burscough, provided that they are not allocated for, currently used for, or their last use was for, employment uses, and the conversion would have significant urban regeneration benefits;
    2. housing which forms a key element within a mixed use regeneration project within Skelmersdale, or within, or directly adjacent to, Ormskirk and Burscough Town Centres;
    3. residential development within the priority regeneration area of Skelmersdale, provided that the land is not allocated for, currently used for, or previously used for, employment use, and the land can be demonstrated to be not needed for community or public open space use. It must be demonstrated that the development will contribute to the wider regeneration of the Town itself. This may include the replacement of dwellings lost through demolition, where redevelopment may necessitate a lower density. Residential development on the greenfield site at Whalleys will need to conform to Policy DE2;
    4. agricultural workers dwellings where there is a proven need and where they need to be located in a specific location;
    5. replacement dwellings in situ where there is no more than a one-for-one replacement;
    6. schemes which provide 100% affordable housing, or accommodation to meet the specific needs of a section of the community, within the settlements identified on the Proposals Map to meet the identified needs of the local area;
    7. the conversion of a rural building in the Green Belt for residential use will be considered where it meets a specific local need, or an identified local housing need in less remote locations, or where it can be demonstrated that the building is inherently unsuitable for any other use.

Other residential development not covered by the above criteria will only be permitted on brownfield sites within Skelmersdale, Burscough and Ormskirk /Aughton if it would not result in an oversupply of housing land in the District.

In addition to the design criteria in Policy GD1, development on all sites should conform to the following criteria:-

  1. the density of development should be a minimum of 30 dwellings per hectare, rising to at least 50 dwellings per hectare at sites with access to good public transport facilities;
  2. any affordable housing required by Policy DE3 shall be provided on the same site; and
  3. recreational facilities and/or public open space shall be provided to meet the needs of the residents of the new housing and arrangement should be made for their maintenance.
5.4.

Justification of Policy DE1

The Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West identifies Skelmersdale as an area within the North West Metropolitan Area where wide-ranging regeneration and environmental enhancement should be secured.

5.5.

The Joint Lancashire Structure Plan concentrates development in Skelmersdale to support its role as a key centre for public transport, employment and services and to allow for regeneration.

5.6.

The Joint Lancashire Structure Plan identifies Ormskirk (including Aughton) and Burscough as market towns where development should be allowed. The aim is to support and enhance their role as service centres and public transport hubs for the surrounding villages.

5.7.

Government guidance (PPG3 - Housing), the Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West, and the Joint Lancashire Structure Plan emphasise the need to ensure that the majority of new development avoids the use of greenfield sites, and sites which are poorly located in terms of services and transport. Therefore, a major aim of this Plan is to ensure that the majority of development takes place at high densities within the three towns of Skelmersdale, Ormskirk and Burscough. Research shows that there is sufficient potential to accommodate all the District's future housing requirements by using previously developed sites and the conversion of buildings in these three towns and by building all the houses which already have planning permission. However it is recognised that further housing may be required in Skelmersdale to assist in efforts to regenerate the town and help balance the housing market.

5.8.

The restriction of new permissions will be used to limit residential development in order to avoid creating an oversupply of housing land and to ensure that the rate of house building is kept in line with strategic guidance. An oversupply will be judged having regard to an assessment of completion rates at that time, and for the purposes of this policy will be defined as anything over a six year supply having regard to the need to conform to the annualised housing target set by the Lancashire Structure Plan. This will also need to take account of oversupply which has occurred in previous years, as future years' annualised targets will need to be adjusted downwards accordingly to compensate for this.

5.9.

The housing potential of brownfield sites (including conversion opportunities) within Skelmersdale, Ormskirk /Aughton, and Burscough, which become available for housing development, will be monitored and taken into account in planning for any shortfall in housing provision. The granting of further permissions will be based upon the housing land supply situation and the accessibility level of the site. Completions will be monitored on an annual basis and the District Council will either allow or refuse development of sites as appropriate to conform to the annual rate of completions. Reviews of the Local Plan and Supplementary Planning Guidance will be used to assess the sites by the criteria laid down in paragraph 31 of PPG3 and by their accessibility level.

5.10.

The Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West anticipates that the greatest need for affordable housing will be in villages in remoter rural areas and parts of South Lancashire within commuting distance of Liverpool.This must include most of West Lancashire. In addition to allowing affordable housing where there is a proven need, there will also be circumstances where accommodation to meet the specific needs of a section of the community will be needed. Accommodation to meet the specific needs of a section of the community includes agricultural workers dwellings, or specialist provision for the frail elderly, the disabled or people with a mental health problem, vulnerable people (including children leaving care), or students (where the student accommodation involves shared living facilities). Such housing will only be taken to be 'special needs' housing where it is specifically designed and operated to house one of the groups described. For the avoidance of doubt, age restricted retirement homes and sheltered housing with a warden who offers assistance only intermittently, or in an emergency, would not constitute special needs housing and therefore would not be permitted under Policy DE1.

5.11.

The 2005 West Lancashire Housing Needs Survey identified a need to provide a greater proportion of smaller low cost market housing throughout the District. The study showed that the rise in house prices since 1999 has created a substantial shortfall in affordable housing over the next few years. The Study recommends that the Local Plan should set a District target of 40% of the total of all units negotiated on all suitable sites. More explanation of this is included under Policy DE3 on Affordable Housing and the Residential Developments SPG.

5.12.

National Planning Guidance advises that new housing developments should incorporate sufficient provision for the creation of open space and playing fields where such spaces are not already provided within easy access (PPG3, para 53). A Supplementary Planning Document is being prepared to explain how the Council will operate this policy.

5.13.

PPG3 acknowledges that in areas where the housing land supply is in conformity with the County Structure Plan, and there is strong pressure for further development, some means of phasing the housing land supply may be necessary.

5.14.

Clearly, West Lancashire is under great pressure for housing development. If the current rates of housing completions were to continue on identified and windfall sites, the Structure Plan allocation of 3,390 dwellings could be reached as early as 2009. At that point, either the Council would have to place severe restraint on further residential development, or accept that the number of dwellings built will exceed the planned provision by a large margin. Therefore, in the interests of a steady and sustainable level of development activity, and to avoid rapid growth in housing and employment needs at the expense of the environment, a measure of phased release of land for new housing is desirable. The recommended form of control in PPG3 is through the managed release of sites.

5.15.

Through initial urban capacity work, the District Council has established that windfall rates are likely to continue to be high if a policy constraint is not put upon them.

5.16.

The above policy allows for the following number of dwellings being completed over the period to 2016 as follows (figures exclude replacement dwellings):-

Supply in Period 2001 to 2016
No. Dwellings
Running Total

Dwellings with permission as at 31 March 2004 

1,403 

1,403 

Dwellings on windfall sites granted permission between 1 March 2004 - 20 August 2004 

41 

1,444 

Dwellings on windfall sites - applications awaiting the completion of section 106 agreements as at 20 August 2004 

53 

1,497 

Completions 2001 - 2004 

1,280 

2,777 

Conversions within main settlements (Estimate) 

100 

2,877 

Dwellings linked to Regeneration of Skelmersdale (Estimate) 

350 

3,227 

Agricultural Workers Dwellings (Estimate) 

13 

3,240 

Affordable Housing in Rural Areas (Estimate) 

250 

3,490 

5.17.

The Joint Lancashire Structure Plan sets a target for the Local Plan to provide 305 dwellings a year for the period 2001 to 2006 (1,525 dwellings) and 185 dwellings a year for the period 2006-2016 (1,850 dwellings).

5.18.

For the period to 2016 the Structure Plan target is for 3,390 completions, excluding replacement dwellings. The actual number provided for, just through existing commitments, as set out in the table above, is for 2,777 - this provides enough housing to meet the District's needs to beyond 2013. The Panel's Report, following the Examination in Public into the Joint Replacement Structure Plan, recommended an extra 350 dwellings be added to West Lancashire's figure in Policy 12 of the Structure Plan, specifically to allow for further development in Skelmersdale. This policy takes account of this recommendation and the proposed modifications to the Structure Plan. It is recognised that not all planning consents will necessarily be implemented and this will be monitored and taken into account through reviews of the Plan. In some cases houses may be demolished and not replaced in situ. Replacement dwellings for those demolished can be allowed for elsewhere in addition to the overall target.The number of demolitions will be monitored over the Plan period, so that these can be taken account of in the housing figures.

5.19.

Unfortunately the Council is not in a position to influence those sites which already have planning consent, but has set fairly stringent criteria for any further sites to come forward. Skelmersdale is a town which is a regeneration priority area, and provided that a clear regeneration need for new development can be demonstrated, housing would be allowed. This recognises the unique position of Skelmersdale, which is located within the North West Metropolitan Area by the adopted RSS, and the fact that the Panel have recommended that housing as part of a mixed use regeneration project should be permitted where this meets the regeneration objectives of the local authority. The table above provides estimates of how housing, permitted by Policy DE1, will come forward over the Plan period to meet the Structure Plan target.

5.20.

In addition, housing which forms a key element within a mixed use regeneration project will be permitted within, or adjacent to, Ormskirk and Burscough Town Centres.This recognises the priority accorded by the Council to regeneration schemes for these two centres. It will need to be demonstrated that the housing is required to enable the regeneration scheme to take place, and that the scheme is delivering improvements which accord with the Council's Regeneration Strategy and which are of significant benefit to the local community.

Background Documents for Policy DE1

Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 Housing 

National 

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • UR5 Existing Commitments in Development Plans
  • UR6 Existing Housing Stock and Housing Renewal
  • UR7 Regional Housing Provision

Regional 

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 12 Housing Provision
  • Policy 13 Housing Renewal

Sub Regional 

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • Homes and People 

Local 

POLICY DE2 - Whalleys, Skelmersdale View Map of this site ?

Housing development on land identified on the Proposals Map at Whalleys Road, Skelmersdale, will be permitted provided that the following criteria are met:-

  1. the development can be shown to contribute positively to the regeneration efforts elsewhere in the Town, and, in particular, respects plans to redevelop Skelmersdale Town Centre;
  2. the development is directly linked to the provision of new employment development on the neighbouring Cobbs Clough employment site, and to the provision of new educational facilities, and other community facilities, for the local community;
  3. the development shows the highest standard of design and innovation in terms of layout and building design;
  4. the development provides suitable facilities for, and links to, proposals for ootpaths, cycleways and bridleways in the locality and is adequately linked to the public transport network; and
  5. the development respects local landscape considerations and, in particular, the wooded cloughs which are adjacent to the site.
5.21.

Justification of Policy DE2

There is sufficient land allocated in the Plan to meet the foreseeable housing needs of the District, assuming that demolition rates remain at recent levels. The release of housing land needs to be managed to ensure that priority is given to re-using previously developed land within urban areas, bringing empty homes back into use and converting existing buildings in preference to the development of greenfield sites (PPG3, para 2).

5.22.

As this is a greenfield site on the edge of Skelmersdale, it is important that very strong justification should be provided to warrant its release. Policy DE2 sets out the criteria which need to be demonstrated to provide such a justification. This policy recognises the unique position of Skelmersdale, which is the only settlement within Lancashire which is in the North West Metropolitan Area, as defined by the RSS. New quality housing is required in the town to balance the mix of housing and provide attractive housing options for the workers being attracted to the town through new employment development. Development on this site may also have a role in replacing houses lost through demolition elsewhere in Skelmersdale through estate regeneration.

5.23.

The development of the sites for housing needs to be considered in the context of a wider mixed use regeneration scheme for the Whalleys area. Development needs to be directly linked to the development of the employment land at Cobbs Clough and any social and community facilities. This is both in physical terms, through the provision of appropriate pedestrian and cycle links, as well as ensuring that the housing land does not come forward in advance of, and in isolation of, the other proposals. The Council will require that a full masterplan be drawn up to demonstrate how the area will be developed and brought forward. Appropriate mechanisms will be put in place through planning conditions and/or Section 106 agreements to ensure that a proportion of the employment site is bought forward in conjunction with the housing sites.

5.24.

 It is also important that any development on these sites contributes positively to regeneration efforts elsewhere in Skelmersdale and respects plans to redevelop the town centre. Thus the mix of housing types needs to complement, rather than try to duplicate, that which is to be brought forward at the town centre through the masterplan exercise, and needs to widen and enhance the housing offer in the town through the provision of a high quality housing scheme.

Background Documents for Policy DE2

Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 Housing 

National 

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • UR5 Existing Commitments in Development Plans
  • UR6 Existing Housing Stock and Housing Renewal
  • UR7 Regional Housing Provision

Regional 

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 12 Housing Provision
  • Policy 13 Housing Renewal

Sub Regional 

POLICY DE3 - Affordable Housing Development View Map of this site ?

Affordable housing development to meet the needs of local people will be permitted within the settlement areas shown on the Proposals Map provided that:-

  1. a need has been identified in the local area and the proposed development would meet that need;
  2. the affordable housing is made available for local residents in proven housing need, who cannot afford to rent or buy houses through the open housing market. The tenure of affordable units should be determined by need in the local area, and should meet local needs in perpetuity; and
  3. the site should be in reasonable proximity to local services such as schools, shops, medical facilities and public transport, and its development should not prejudice the realisation of other key planning objectives for the development of the site or local area.

The number of affordable housing units to be provided within approved housing developments outside of Skelmersdale will be between 30% and 50% on sites of 10 or more dwellings. The tenure of these affordable housing units should be determined by need in the local area, and should meet local needs in perpetuity.

Within Skelmersdale the number of affordable housing units to be provided on each site will be up to 25% on sites of 10 or more dwellings.These affordable units should include a mixture of types required to meet the overall regeneration and Housing Strategy objectives for Skelmersdale.

In determining the precise level of affordable housing provision to be made on any site, regard will be had to the following criteria: (a) site size suitability and the economics of provision; and (b) the need to achieve a successful housing development.

All affordable housing proposed under this policy must be demonstrated to be genuinely affordable to those on lower incomes in the local area.

Justification of Policy DE3

Supplementary Planning Guidance on affordable housing, produced by the District Council in November 2004, includes a definition of what constitutes affordable housing, as follows:-' Affordable housing' is defined as housing for social rent, shared-ownership or low-costownership, for people:

  • eligible to join the Council Housing Register or an RSL Housing Register, or
  • for people unable to access housing for purchase or market rent through open housing markets due to the differential between local housing costs and income levels.
5.25.

The Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West aims to concentrate growth and change in Liverpool and Manchester /Salford and the adjacent metropolitan towns, and several key cities and towns beyond. It envisages a reduction in the number of people moving out from the metropolitan area to Lancashire and therefore dictates that only housing to meet the needs of the local community should be provided in places such as West Lancashire's smaller settlements. This means that in the following villages the only housing which will be allowed is affordable housing which meets the needs of that particular village:-

Appley Bridge, Banks, Parbold, Tarleton and Hesketh Bank, Up Holland, Crawford, Halsall, Haskayne, Hilldale, Holt Green, Mere Brow, Mossy Lea Road (Wrightington), Newburgh, Rufford, Scarisbrick/Bescar, Stanley Gate (Bickerstaffe), Westhead, Brown Edge/Pool Hey (Scarisbrick), Moss Road (Halsall), New Cut Lane (Halsall) and Segars Lane (Halsall).

5.26.

The West Lancashire Housing Needs Survey 2005 shows that there is a significant affordability problem in West Lancashire, especially in the rural areas.The Community Strategy identified as a key priority the need to ensure people can access a variety of affordable housing, and this is also a priority of the Council's Corporate Plan. One of the objectives of West Lancashire's Housing Strategy is to balance the housing market in the District. Affordable housing provided through this policy must meet the strategic housing objectives, as outlined within the Housing Strategy, and contribute to balancing the local housing market.

 

5.27.

The Housing Needs Survey recommends that the overall District target for affordable housing should be 40% of the total of all new units negotiated on all suitable sites. In Ormskirk and the rural areas, because of lack of existing supply and higher house prices, it states that targets could be higher than in Skelmersdale, which has lower house prices, also taking into account existing supply and units arising from regeneration schemes. Due to the Council's restrictive housing policy, set out in Policy DE1, there is unlikely to be much, if any, market housing outside of Skelmersdale. However this policy does cover the eventuality of where housing may be allowed as an exception to the general housing policy, and requires that 30-50% of such housing should be affordable. The 10 dwelling threshold reflects emerging Government policy, the fact that many sites in the future are likely to be small, and the high level of need. For the purpose of this policy we use the definition of affordable housing as set out above. The types of affordable housing include:-

  • Units for rent (the major requirement);
  • Shared ownership with grant;
  • Shared equity, where land value is retained to provide housing for sale at below market levels, and where control of the 'equity discount' can be retained as long as they are needed;
  • Discounted market housing.
5.28.

Because the supply of affordable housing will be significantly less than required (as calculated by the 2005 Housing Needs Survey), all affordable housing units will need to meet local needs in perpetuity. Developers will also need to demonstrate that the affordable housing units will be genuinely affordable to those on the lowest incomes. In many areas of the District, housing available for sale would not be considered to be affordable without an extremely large discount on the market value, due to the high level of house prices. The 2005 Housing Needs Survey suggests a split between affordable housing for rent and subsidised low cost market housing.

5.29.

The Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West, the Lancashire Structure Plan and Central Government advice endorse the use of planning powers to meet housing needs not catered for by the market. The District Council is keen to support the building of affordable homes in Ormskirk /Aughton, Burscough and the rural areas of the District. Before the Council can consider an affordable housing scheme it is necessary to show that there is a genuine need for affordable housing in a given local rural community. To achieve this, there should be sufficient evidence that the proposed houses will be occupied by people with a genuine need to live in the village who cannot afford to buy or rent accommodation through the open market. Sites for justified affordable housing schemes should preferably be located within the village settlements as defined on the Proposals Map.

5.30.

Supplementary Planning Guidance has been prepared to explain how the Council will operate this policy.

Background Documents for Policy DE3

Planning PolicyGuidance Note 3 Housing Circular 6/98 

National 

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West 

Regional 

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 5 Development outside of Principal Urban Areas, Main Towns and Key Service Centres (Market Towns)

Sub Regional 

West Lancashire Housing Needs Survey 2005 

Local 

Supplementary Planning Guidance: Affordable Housing (November 2004) 

Local 

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • Homes and People 

Local 

POLICY DE4 - Caravan Sites for Gypsies and Travelling Show People View Map of this site ?

The development of caravan sites for gypsies and travelling show people will be permitted outside the Green Belt provided that the site is close to schools, shops and other community facilities; the site would not have an unacceptable impact upon the landscape, the road network, or on neighbouring land uses; and the proposal would not prejudice the possible development of a larger site.

5.31.

Justification of Policy DE4

Circular 01/94 advised that local planning authorities should make adequate gypsy site provision in their development plans, through appropriate use of locational and/or criteria based policies. Circular 01/2006 has now been published which updates this Circular and this guidance will be fully taken account of as part of the review of this Local Plan. In 2002/2003 there were 26 unauthorised encampments of 5 or 6 caravans recorded in West Lancashire.

5.32.

Circular 01/94 stated that new gypsy and traveller sites are normally inappropriate development in the Green Belt. It went on to state that local planning authorities might consider locations outside existing settlements, but within a reasonable distance of local facilities e.g. shops, hospitals and schools. Local authorities are also advised to have regard to highway considerations, the potential for noise and other disturbance from the movement of vehicles to and from the site, the stationing of vehicles on the site, and on-site business activities. Landscaping and planting with trees and shrubs will help sites blend into their surroundings, give structure and privacy, and maintain visual amenity.

Background Documents for Policy DE4

ODPM Circular 01/94 Gypsy Sites and Planning
ODPM Circular 01/2006 Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Caravan Sites 

National 

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy UR2 An inclusive social Infrastructure 

Regional 

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 29 Sites for Gypsy and Traveller Families 

Sub Regional 

POLICY DE5 - Employment Development View Map of this site ?

  1. The Council will permit industrial, business, storage and distribution uses on proposed employment sites as detailed on the Proposals Map and listed below:- 

Pimbo Industrial Estate

  1. Pimbo Road
  2. Pimbo Road
  3. Prescott Road
  4. Rear of Snack Factory
  5. Priorswood Place

Stanley Industrial Estate

  1. Staveley Road
  2. Staveley Road
  3. Staveley Road
  4. Staveley Road
  5. Staveley Road
  6. Seddon Place
  7. Selby Place
  8. Selby Place
  9. Stanley Extension Site *

Gillibrands Industrial Estate

  1. Gardiners Place
  2. Gardiners Place

Other Skelmersdale Sites

  1. Whitemoss Business Park *
  2. Cobbs Clough Road *
  3. Skelmersdale Town Centre Regeneration **

Burscough Employment Areas

  1. Tollgate Road
  2. Freshpack,Tollgate Road
  3. Ringtail Road

Other Sites

  1. North Quarry, Appley Bridge
  2. 24. Simonswood 1
  3. Simonswood 2
  4. Greaves Hall Business Park, Banks
  5. Ormskirk Hospital

* These sites are covered by supplementary planning guidance setting out detailed site requirements.

** At the time of adoption of this Plan, the location of the site(s) for business development land at Skelmersdale Town Centre is not known, and is therefore not shown on the Proposals Map. Please see Policy DE11 Skelmersdale Town Centre.

  1. Industrial, business, storage and distribution uses will be permitted in existing employment areas as detailed on the Proposals Map and listed below:-
    1. Pimbo Industrial Estate, Skelmersdale
    2. Stanley Industrial Estate, Skelmersdale
    3. Gillibrands Industrial Estate, Skelmersdale
    4. Simonswood Industrial Park
    5. North Quarry, Appley Bridge
    6. Dawber Delph, Appley Bridge
    7. Burscough Employment Area
    8. Westgate, Skelmersdale
    9. Ormskirk Employment Area
    10. Platts Lane, Burscough
    11. Red Cat Lane, Burscough
    12. Orrell Lane, Burscough
    13. Tarleton Mill, Plox Brow,Tarleton
    14. Whitemoss Business Park, Skelmersdale
    15. TPT Centre, Railway Road, Skelmersdale
    16. Abbey Lane, Burscough
    17. Appley Lane North, Appley Bridge
    18. Ravenhead Brickworks, Up Holland
    19. Alty's Brickworks, Hesketh Bank
    20. Briars Lane, Burscough
    21. Co-op Bank Offices, Northway, Skelmersdale
    22. Southport Road/ Green Lane, Skelmersdale
    23. Digmoor Road, Skelmersdale
  2. Light industrial uses may be permitted in residential areas provided that the amenity of nearby residential property will not be unacceptably harmed by the proposal.
  3. The conversion or re-use of employment sites not identified on the Proposals Map within the urban and rural settlements for alternative uses will not be permitted, unless it can be demonstrated that alternative uses, such as tourism or leisure, provide significant job creation opportunities.
  4. Only B1(a) office uses and B1(b) research and development uses will be permitted at the Whitemoss Business Park. Only B1 uses will be permitted on the Greaves Hall Business Park and Cobbs Clough sites.
  5. Other employment generating uses such as tourism and leisure, and affordable housing, will also be permitted on Rural Employment Areas listed below, and shown on the Proposals Map, provided such uses do not take up more than half the site, and can satisfactorily co-exist with industrial /business uses.-
    1. School Lane, Haskayne;
    2. Ainscough Building Supplies, Mossy Lea Road, Wrightington;
    3. Sharrocks's Depot, Mossy Lea Road, Wrightington;
    4. Reynolds Garage, Southport Road, Scarisbrick.
  6. Further research and development facilities at Pilkington Technology Centre will be permitted within the area shown on the Proposals Map provided that it does not exceed the height of existing buildings and does not lead to a major increase in the developed proportion of the site.
5.33.

Justification of Policy DE5

Government advice contained within PPG4 makes it clear that sufficient land should be made available which is both readily capable of development and well served by infrastructure. A variety of sites should be made available to suit a variety of needs thus facilitating competition between developers and stimulating economic activity. The advice makes it clear that economic development should be encouraged in a way which is compatible with the Government's environmental objectives, and that development plans should weigh the importance of industrial and commercial development with that of maintaining and improving environmental quality.

5.34.

The Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West aims to strengthen the Region's economy and states that plans should identify a range of suitable sites and premises for employment purposes which:-

  • complement the Region's sectoral priorities;
  • take account of the needs of local businesses and communities and the need to ensure the modernisation and diversification of older manufacturing industries and their premises;
  • are based on a review of existing commitments;
  • have the potential to promote clustering;
  • take account of the sequential approach set out in Policy DP1 of the RSS;
  • support the Spatial Development Framework of the Regional Spatial Strategy; and
  • take account of the availability of skilled labour and wider employment and training
  • opportunities.
5.35.

The Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West also states that major new industrial and distribution developments should be guided to sites that can readily be connected to the rail network and waterways.

5.36.

The Joint Lancashire Structure Plan states that 145 hectares of land should be provided in West Lancashire between 2001 - 2016 for business and industrial development (Use Classes B1-B8). The strategy of the Structure Plan seeks an accelerated rate of business and industrial development but with a reduction in the overall amount of land earmarked for development, resulting in a targeted relative shift towards the Regeneration Priority Areas such as Skelmersdale. Such development in Skelmersdale is given extra weight because of its role within the North West Metropolitan Area as defined in Policy SD2 of the Regional Spatial Strategy.

5.37.

The table below details how the plan will work towards the JLSP requirement in the next 3 to 5 years. In the light of the Inspector's binding recommendation that proposed extensions of the Pimbo and White Moss employment areas into the Green Belt be not accepted, the Council will review its statistical case to confirm the level of employment need for the District in general and Skelmersdale in particular. The review will be undertaken as part of the LDF review having regard to historic levels of employment development, the need for jobs to address existing social and economic issues, and the need to work towards more sustainable commuting patterns. A parallel review of Green Belt boundaries on the south west side of Skelmersdale will also be undertaken with a view to establishing to what extent the release of Green Belt land may be necessary to meet long term development needs and, if Green Belt releases are necessary, which are the sites likely to cause least harm to Green Belt purposes and best suited to establish long term defensible Green Belt boundaries.

Employment Land Supply 2001 to 2016

Site Name
Local Plan Ref.
Total Site Area. (Ha)
Developed 2001-2003 (ha)
With Planning Permission (Ha)
Residual (Ha)
 
Pimbo Industrial Estate 
Pimbo Road *  DE5.1.1  2.03     2.03 
Pimbo Road *
DE5.1.2  3.50     3.50 
Priorswood Place *      
Prescott Road *  DE5.1.3  2.55     2.55 
Land to rear of Snack Factory *  DE5.1.4  0.86     0.86 
 
Stanley Industrial Estate
 
Selby Place  DE5.1.12  0.47    0.47   
Staveley Road *  DE5.1.7  3.81    3.81   
Staveley Road  DE5.1.6
DE5.1.9
DE5.1.10 
12.1    12.1  
Seddon Place *  DE5.1.11  1.31  0.20    1.11 
Selby Place *  DE5.1.13  0.84     0.84 
Part of Stanley  0.80  0.80    
Stanley Extension  DE5.1.14  37.0  12.62    24.38 
 
Gillibrands Indusstrial Estate
 
Gardiners Place  DE5.1.15  1.78    1.78   
Gardiners Place  DE5.1.16  1.27     1.27 
Glebe Road *  0.28     0.28 
 
Other Skelmersdale Sites
 
Whitemoss Business Park  DE5.1.17  11.23  1.80  3.63  5.80 
Cobbs Clough Road  DE5.1.18  9.82     9.82 
 
Burscough Employment Area 
Tollgate Road  DE5.1.20  7.47    7.47   
Freshpack, Tollgate Road  DE5.1.21  3.11    3.11   
Ringtail Road *  DE5.1.22  0.27     0.27 
 
Other Sites 
North Quarry, Appley Bridge  DE5.1.23  1.38 0.30  0.70  0.38
Simonswood 1*  DE5.1.24  2.70  2.70
  
Simonswood 2
DE5.1.35
2.70
2.70
  
Greaves Hall Business Park, Banks
DE5.1.26
5.21
  5.21
Ormskirk HospitalDE5.1.27
0.24
  0.24 
 
> Pimboextension     
> White Moss extension
     
 
Sites from other policies:
Skelmersdale Town Centre Regeneration
DE11
2
  2
Development Opportunity Sites
DE14 and DE15
2
  2
 
Vacant Premises
 6.2
  6.2
 
TOTAL
 125.96
18.42
33.0774.47

> Denotes sites requiring Green Belt releases which are to be reviewed as part of the LDF review.

* Denotes sites affected by constraints, or held by existing companies.

N.B. Site DE5.1.8 (Stavelely Road) has been removed from the supply table as it was developed for non-employment purposes in 2004.

5.38.

The Council's Corporate Plan and the Community Strategy for West Lancashire both identify the provision of jobs for local people as a priority. The employment areas and most of the available development sites in West Lancashire are predominantly in Skelmersdale to reflect its strategic role as a regeneration priority area. However, there is still a need to provide new employment opportunities in other parts of the District. As well as seeking to retain and attract new employment uses within the identified employment areas, the policy also seeks to retain any other employment sites within the District's settlements for employment uses. Often these sites are in extremely sustainable locations being located adjacent to or within residential areas. Currently the demand for new employment premises is extremely high within the District. It is important that the stock of current sites, which could be recycled, is not eroded, as this could create a demand for less sustainable greenfield sites to be released. Without a firm policy retaining such sites there will be the danger that sites are bought speculatively with the hope of obtaining permission for residential development.This is particularly the case given the restrictions upon new residential development at this point in time and the high demand for residential sites. It is likely that grant funding could be made available to assist with any redevelopment costs, and interested parties should contact the District Council's Regeneration Manager for advice.

NB. In the case of development that creates or safeguards jobs the Council's Regeneration Unit can provide advice on the availability of grant assistance

Background Documents for Policy DE5

Planning Policy Guidance Note 4 Industrial and Commercial Development and Small Firms
National

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policies EC1, EC2, EC3, EC4, EC6, EC7 
Regional

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 14 Business and Industrial Land Provision 
Sub Regional

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • Jobs 
Local

POLICY DE6 - The Rural Economy View Map of this site ?

The reuse of existing buildings for small scale industrial (B1, B2 and B8 uses), tourism, self catering holiday accommodation and non-retail commercial development will be permitted in the countryside, including the Green Belt, provided that:-

  1. the building is of permanent and substantial construction and is capable of conversion without major reconstruction or extension;
  2. the conversion and/or re-use will protect or enhance the visual quality of the landscape;
  3. any loss of agricultural land would be minimal, the development would not lead to any significant deterioration in land quality, and, where there is a choice, the lowest grade of agricultural land would be used;
  4. the proposal would not have a detrimental effect on the character of the local environment, local or visual amenity or highway safety;
  5. the proposal would not adversely affect wildlife or features of archaeological or nature conservation interest; and
  6. where the proposal is for self catering holiday accommodation it shall be designed for that purpose and shall not include any external curtilage for individual units. All such accommodation will have strict conditions applied relating to duration of occupancy.

Any re-use of the buildings within the Green Belt should not have a materially greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt than the former use.

Only minor extensions to existing buildings or small new buildings will be permitted to support the rural economy.

Farm shops within existing buildings which require planning permission (i.e. selling goods not grown or produced on the holding) will be permitted if, as well as complying with all the above requirements, the following criteria are also met:-

  1. all the produce sold is grown within the locality; and
  2. the gross retail floor space does not exceed 100 square metres.
N.B. Where development includes the reuse of a building in the Green Belt, it should also comply with Policy DS2.
5.39.

Justification for Policy DE6

The increasing efficiency of agricultural producers and changes in agricultural policy mean that retaining as much land as possible in agricultural use no longer has the same priority. The priority now, as signalled by PPS7, is to promote sustainable patterns of development and sustainable communities in rural areas, so that diversification of the rural economy provides wide and varied employment opportunities for people in rural areas, including those formerly employed in agriculture and related sectors. Rural diversification can assist the rural economy through sustaining the viability of farms, and by providing alternative employment opportunities. Policy DE6 is designed to meet one of the main priorities of West Lancashire's Community Strategy which is to support rural businesses.

5.40.

Notwithstanding the above, the Government maintains its commitment to protect Green Belt and the best and most versatile agricultural land. The majority of West Lancashire, excluding the main settlements, is Green Belt. In addition, approximately 86% of the District's agricultural land is Grades 1, 2 and 3a. Inevitably, therefore, opportunities for diversification will be constrained by these important policy considerations.

5.41.

All rural diversification proposals will be assessed primarily against the Green Belt policies. Where a use of land is involved, additional considerations will include: the agricultural land quality; the need to control the rate at which land is released for development; the need to protect the countryside for its own sake; the need to safeguard the quality and amenity value of the local environment; the need to safeguard the enjoyment of the surrounding countryside for both visitors and residents; the need to safeguard historic, wildlife and landscape resources; and the need to safeguard the viability of the farmholding.

5.42.

Many diversification proposals will take the form of farm-based small scale non-agricultural enterprises which involve the reuse of existing buildings. Policy DS2 provides an opportunity for the reuse of buildings.

5.43.

It would assist the Council in determining an application if the applicant were to submit a supporting statement in justification of any rural diversification proposal, including its impact on the historic environment, landscape and wildlife resources.

5.44.

The rural economy has also seen an increase in the number of shops being operated on farmholdings. The sale of farm produce, which has been wholly grown on the holding from which it is being sold, is generally regarded as ancillary to an agricultural use, and consequently does not require planning permission. Commonly, however, the sale of goods from a farm shop is not restricted to produce grown on the same holding, but rather incorporates an element of produce grown elsewhere. Whilst the sale of a nominal amount of such latter produce may be 'de minimis', the sale of a significant quantity of produce grown elsewhere results in the need for planning permission. The Council also recognises that not all farms may wish to operate individual farm shops. This policy, therefore, allows farm shops to sell produce grown in the locality i.e. within approximately 8 kilometres of the holding, in addition to that grown on the same holding. Farm shops which sell significant quantities of other brought in produce will be considered on the same basis as any retail outlet and will be assessed against the criteria contained in Policy DE10. Therefore, whilst the Council encourages other types of farm diversification it will not approve proposals which undermine the Council's policy to protect and enhance the vitality and viability of the existing town, village and neighbourhood shopping centres, and existing village shops which cater for local needs.

NB. In the case of development that creates or safeguards jobs the Council's Regeneration Unit can provide advice on the availability of grant assistance.

Background Documents for Policy DE6

Planning Policy Statement 7 Sustainable Development in Rural Areas
National

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • RU2 Rural Diversification 
Regional

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 5 Development outside of Principal Urban Areas, Main Towns and Key Service Centres (Market Towns).
Sub Regional

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • Jobs
  • The Conversion of Historic Farm Buildings, English Heritage, 1993. 
Local

POLICY DE7 - Agricultural Produce Packing Facilities View Map of this site ?

Proposals for new, replacement, or extensions to, agricultural produce packing and distribution facilities will be permitted in the countryside (including the Green Belt) provided that:-

  1. in the case of new freestanding facilities, or large-scale extensions to existing facilities, there is not an alternative site within a nearby employment area;
  2. the proposed use will remain linked to the use of land and not involve a division of the operation from the existing agricultural holding;
  3. the majority of the produce processed on the site is grown upon holdings located within the local area;
  4. the loss of agricultural land is kept to a minimum and, where there is a choice, the lowest grade of agricultural land is used; and
  5. traffic generated can be satisfactorily accommodated on the local road network and will not be detrimental to residential amenity.
  6. the cumulative impact of incremental small scale extensions will be assessed the same as a large scale extension.
5.45.

Justification for Policy DE7

The past 30 years has witnessed considerable change in rural areas in England. Successive Government agricultural policies and changes in working practice have resulted in greater efficiency in food production. This move for greater efficiency has not been limited to the working of the land itself but also the handling and distribution of produce.The influence of the major retailers has been significant as they require produce to be packed under set conditions and delivered direct to them within a specified period of time. The cost of meeting the requirements of retailers as well as the introduction of tougher hygiene regulations has been prohibitive to the smaller agricultural holdings, and consequently this has resulted in the rise of specialists who provide facilities to wash, pack and distribute not only their own produce, but also produce from other holdings.

5.46.

The Council recognises the importance to the rural economy of having facilities locally available to undertake the packing and distribution of produce and considers such facilities to be appropriate within the countryside, including those areas designated Green Belt, provided the use remains ancillary to an existing agricultural holding.The use of bare land for a packing and distribution centre to which all the produce was imported onto the site would be inappropriate development within the Green Belt and would not be permitted.

 

5.47.

In accordance with the Government's aim to reduce growth in the length and number of motorised journeys it is important that the majority of the produce processed be grown in the local area i.e. a maximum of 8km from the packing and distribution centres. The Council will expect that 50% of the produce should come from the holding itself (all land being farmed by the operator in question), 30% from the locality (within the 8km radius) and the remaining 20% imported from elsewhere. This recognises the seasonal nature of some of the produce and the need to pack other produce to meet the demands of supermarkets.

Background Documents for Policy DE7

Planning Policy Statement 7 Sustainable Development in Rural Areas
National

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • RU2 Rural Diversification 
Regional

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 5 Development outside of Principal Urban Areas, Main Towns and Key Service Centres (Market Towns).
Sub Regional

POLICY DE8 - Accommodation for Temporary Agricultural/ Horticultural Workers View Map of this site ?

The reuse of existing buildings within village settlements and the Green Belt for accommodation for temporary agricultural and/or horticultural workers will be permitted provided that it complies with criterion (i) below and, if in the Green Belt, it also complies with Policy DS2.

The provision of non-permanent accommodation, appropriate to both the identified need and the location, will be permitted where it can be demonstrated that:

  1. there is a requirement to provide accommodation to satisfy a clearly identified need for temporary agricultural /horticultural workers;
  2. there are no existing buildings in the locality which are suitable, or capable of being made suitable, for accommodating temporary workers;
  3. the site chosen is the most suitable in the locality, taking into account other policies in this Local Plan; and
  4. it complies with the following:
    1. any impact on visual amenity; residential amenity; highway safety; landscape, wildlife and countryside character is minimised to an acceptable level. Any such impacts will need to be outweighed by clear benefits in helping to meet the local employment problem that exists;
    2. Proposals include measures to protect the character of the local area including: retention of existing trees and hedges; implementation of landscape planting and improvement of any damaged or derelict land involved; and improvement of boundary treatments;
    3. the siting, location, scale, and external appearance of the accommodation, hardstanding and associated facilities are designed to minimise the impact on the wider area to an acceptable level; and
    4. the amount of accommodation, hardstanding and associated facilities to be provided is justified in relation to the agricultural land holding of the applicant to ensure that it is the minimum required.

In all cases of new accommodation in the Green Belt the permission will be subject to a time-limiting condition of five years from the date of the accommodation being sited on the site or the date of the planning permission, whichever is the earlier, unless the evidence of need demonstrates that a shorter time-limited condition is warranted.

5.48.

Justification of Policy DE8

Seasonal agricultural workers have been employed on farms for many years, including workers from overseas. However, it appears that in the last year or so the number of foreign workers has increased substantially. An idea of the numbers involved is given by the Government's Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme annual quota which for the country as a whole in 2003 was 25,000, compared to 10,000 in 2000. Whereas in the past the caravans housing these workers may have been placed within and/or between the farm buildings these new sites are often highly visible and some are near residential properties. This can have an adverse impact on the landscape and on local residents.

5.49.

In recent years agricultural and horticultural employers have found it increasingly difficult to recruit sufficient numbers of temporary workers, especially at periods of peak activity. The farmers feel this constrains their ability to meet domestic demand and some export markets, so opening up the UK to imports.

5.50.

The majority of seasonal and casual workers are from one or more of the following:-

  • Recruited direct by the farmers;
  • Workers supplied by gangmasters;
  • Students seeking part-time or vacation work;
  • The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS); and
  • The Working Holiday arrangements.
5.51.

Although some temporary accommodation will not require planning permission, in most cases permission will be required. Operators should always check with the Council's Planning Department, but normally planning permission is required in the following cases:

  • if the workers will be housed for longer than a normal planting, growing, or picking season;
  • if caravans and other related buildings (e.g. canteens and toilets) are to be kept on site permanently;
  • if a change of use to an existing building is involved;
  • if hardstandings and permanent services (e.g. water supply or septic tank) need to be constructed.
5.52.

The Council wishes to assist in supporting a healthy rural economy within the context of national and local planning policies. Permanent buildings or caravans which are kept on site for a number of months can reduce the open character of the Green Belt and have an adverse impact on the landscape and the amenity of local residents. Therefore the above policy has been introduced to limit the impact of this type of development on the local area. The Council has produced Supplementary Planning Guidance on Accommodation for Seasonal Agricultural Workers.

Background Documents for Policy DE8

Planning Policy Guidance Note2 Green Belts
Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 Housing
Planning Policy Statement 7 Sustainable Development in Rural Areas
National

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • RU2 Rural Diversification 
Regional

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 5 Development outside of Principal Urban Areas, Main Towns and Key Service Centre (Market Towns). 
Sub Regional

POLICY DE9 - Removal of Agricultural Workers Dwelling Conditions View Map of this site ?

Planning permission for the removal of an agricultural, horticultural or forestry worker's dwelling occupancy condition will only be approved if the Council is satisfied, by means of a realistic and effective marketing exercise submitted by the applicant, that the continuing need for the dwelling, for present and retired workers, both on the particular farm and in the locality, no longer warrants its
retention for that purpose.

To provide a realistic assessment in consultation with the Local Planning Authority f the continuing need for dwellings for agricultural, horticultural or forestry workers in the area, the Council will expect the marketing exercise to:-

  1. be directed at the local agricultural, horticultural or forestry community;
  2. offer the property for both sale and rent at an amount which takes into account the effect of the agricultural occupancy condition on the value of the property; and
  3. be carried out at a realistic frequency and over a realistic period bearing in mind the condition of the general housing market.
Alternatively the Council will expect the applicant to provide other realistic evidence that will clearly indicate whether or not there is a continuing need to retain the dwelling for agricultural workers in the locality.
5.53.

Justification of Policy DE9

Government guidance (PPS 7) states that "Where the need to provide accommodation to enable farm, forestry or other workers to live at or near to their place of work has been accepted as providing the special justification required for new, isolated residential development in the countryside, it will be necessary to ensure that the dwellings are kept available for meeting this need for as long as exists." The guidance recommends the use of a condition attached to planning permissions for such uses. Where an agricultural occupancy condition has been imposed, it will not normally be removed on a subsequent application unless it is shown that the longer-term need for dwellings for agricultural workers, both on the particular farm and in the locality, no longer warrants its reservation for that purpose. PPS7, however, requires applications for the removal of occupancy conditions to be considered on the basis of a realistic assessment of the continuing need. Policy DE9 sets out the Council's policy in relation to such applications, and sets out guidelines for the marketing exercise which should be undertaken by applicants in order to demonstrate that there is no longer a long-term need in the locality for agricultural workers' dwellings. As the sale of a house is often affected by market conditions it is expected that the period of sale will be at least twelve months although a longer period will be required when market conditions are poor. The guidelines set out in the policy would not be applicable if a continuing need is self-evident, for example, the present occupiers (who comply with the condition) do not intend to vacate the dwelling. In order to avoid wasting time and effort all applicants are advised to seek the local planning authority's guidance on how the property should be marketed before placing it on the market or submitting a planning application.

Background Documents for Policy DE9

Planning Policy Guidance Note 2 Green Belts
Planning Policy Statement 7 Sustainable Development in Rural Areas 
National

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy SD5 The Green Belts 
Regional

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 6 Green Belts 
Sub Regional

POLICY DE10 - Retail and Other Town Centre Development View Map of this site ?

  1. Retail, leisure, entertainment and other appropriate town centre development will be permitted within main and market town centres as designated on the Proposals Map. Developments creating more than 2,500 square metres of retail floor space will be permitted provided that the resulting provision, whether singly or cumulatively, does not adversely affect the vitality and viability of any existing centre. Any development should reflect the scale and function of the centre.
  2. Retail, leisure and entertainment development on edge-of-centre sites will only be permitted where:-
    1. no suitable alternative is available within the above areas;
    2. it can be satisfactorily integrated into the town centre;
    3. the resulting provision, whether singly or cumulatively, does not adversely affect the vitality and viability of any existing centre; and
    4. there is a clearly defined need.
  3. Further small scale retail, leisure and entertainment development in local shopping centres will only be permitted where:-
    1. it can be satisfactorily integrated into the local shopping centre
    2. the resulting provision, whether singly or cumulatively, does not adversely affect the vitality and viability of any existing centre; and
    3. there is a clearly defined need.
  4. Retail leisure and entertainment development on out-of-centre sites will only be permitted where:-
    1. no suitable alternative is available within the above areas;
    2. the resulting provision, whether singly or cumulatively, sustains and enhances the vitality and viability of any existing centre;
    3. there is a clearly defined need;
    4. there would not be an adverse impact on the residential amenity of neighbouring property through increased noise and disturbance; and
    5. sites are accessible and well served by a choice of means of transport.
  5. Within Primary Shopping Areas, schemes involving changes of use from retail use (Class A1) to any other use, and the development of new buildings for uses not within Class A1 of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1997 (or subsequent order), will be permitted provided that:-
    1. the proposed use, when taken cumulatively with other non-retail uses, does not have a detrimental effect upon the vitality and viability of the area; and
    2. the proposal retains a ground floor shop front with windows and display.
  6. Outside the main shopping centres or in local centres and rural settlements, proposals for the redevelopment or conversion of shops and/or other essential services such as post offices, banks, public houses, health centres and other community facilities to another use will not be permitted unless:-
    1. it would not adversely affect the vitality and viability of a centre;
    2. it can be demonstrated that adequate alternative provision exists; and
    3. it can be demonstrated that there is no longer any demand for a shop or service in the area.
  7. Proposals involving the creation of, or extension to, Garden Centres will not be permitted in the Green Belt.
5.54.

Justification of Policy DE10

Retailing is the dominant activity of every town, neighbourhood and village centre and shopping is an essential part of everyone's life. The Government's objectives are to sustain or enhance the vitality and viability of town centres, which serve the whole community, and to ensure the availability of a wide range of shopping opportunities to which people have easy access.These objectives are compatible with the aim of encouraging sustainable development and form the basis of the Regional Spatial Strategy and Joint Lancashire Structure Plan policies which guide retail development towards existing town centres.

5.55.

In accordance with strategic guidance, larger scale development will be directed towards the main shopping centres of Ormskirk and Skelmersdale. Retail development in other parts of the District will be limited to a scale which will serve the needs of the local community. The District Council's Corporate Plan recognises the role town centres play in providing jobs as well as services. It is vitally important that the town centres continue to be viable and attractive places which provide a range of services.

5.56.

In accord with government guidance, mixed use developments will be encouraged in town and local shopping centres. This may include residential and office development on upper floors above shops. However, proposals incorporating such uses should be of an appropriate scale and in appropriate locations and should comply with policies DE1 and DS1. Uses and proposals that would undermine the function of the town centres and shopping areas will be resisted in order to retain a reasonable level of service for the local community.

5.57.

Local shops and banks, etc. are an important part of community life and can provide a reasonable range of convenience goods to meet local needs. They are often associated with basic services such as post offices and hairdressers. These provide an accessible local service which is particularly important to those without a car, the elderly, disabled people, and families with small children for their everyday needs and in areas where public transport is irregular or infrequent. The Council will endeavour to support the retention of local services in residential areas and the rural villages by resisting the conversion of shops, pubs and banks to other uses, especially housing, where this will result in the loss of important local services in a community. A marketing exercise will normally be required to demonstrate that the use is no longer needed and this will be dealt with further in a Supplementary Planning Document.

5.58.

The following hierarchy of centres will apply:-

Main Town:
Skelmersdale
Market Town:
Ormskirk, Burscough
Local Shopping Centres:
Ashurst Centre, Skelmersdale Banks Shopping Area County Road, Ormskirk Digmoor Parade, Skelmersdale Hall Green, Up Holland Hesketh Bank Village Centre Moss Delph Lane, Aughton Parbold Village Centre Sandy Lane Centre, Skelmersdale Tarleton Village Centre Town Green, Aughton

NB. In the case of development that creates or safeguards jobs the Council's Regeneration Unit can provide advice on the availability of grant assistance.

Background Documents for Policy DE10

Planning Policy Statement 6 Planning for Town CentresNetional

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy EC8 Town Centres: Retail, Leisure and Office Development 
Regional

Join Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 2 Main Development Locations
  • Policy 4 Development in Lancashire's Market Towns
  • Policy 16 Retail, Entertainment and Leisure Development 
Sub Regional

POLICY DE11 - Skelmersdale Town Centre View Map of this site ?

Proposals for the enhancement, regeneration and redevelopment of Skelmersdale Town Centre, as defined on the Proposals Map, will be supported. To this end a comprehensive masterplan for the improvement of the Town Centre will be prepared. Proposals in the Town Centre will be expected to:

  1. conform to the masterplan;
  2. include, or be part of, a range and mix of uses including retailing (food and non-food) leisure, entertainment, office space and residential;
  3. be of a scale that is needed to serve the area and is appropriate in the Town Centre;
  4. provide a major improvement in the facilities, services and attractiveness of the Town Centre;
  5. include provision for health care and educational facilities;
  6. demonstrate good practice in urban design with development being innovative and of the highest possible quality;
  7. prioritise convenience for pedestrians, cyclists and users of public transport over the car and include proposals to enhance or redevelop the bus station. The development will also require a Transport Assessment (including impacts on the strategic road network) and a Travel Plan;
  8. be compatible with the existing uses in the Town Centre;
  9. support the ongoing project to develop a new Town Centre park and protect important and valuable open /green space where appropriate;
  10. sustain and enhance the vitality and viability of this and other existing centres;
  11. contribute to the evening economy.

Development which would prejudice the regeneration of the town centre, or the implementation of the masterplan, for example piecemeal development proposals on key sites, or the over-provision of facilities, will not be permitted.

5.59.

Justification of Policy DE11

The development and regeneration of Skelmersdale Town Centre is seen as a key element in the regeneration of Skelmersdale as a whole. It is a priority in the Council's Corporate Plan.

5.60.

A site with an area of 4.1 hectares was identified in the previous Local Plan. It is located to the north of Skelmersdale College within the town centre. The Council encourages leisure, entertainment and other appropriate town centre uses in this area, in addition to retail use, to diversify the range of uses in the town centre and to attract pedestrian movement between the various sites. Pedestrian and cycle links between these sites and the Concourse Centre, the Tawd Valley and nearby residential areas will need to be improved and strengthened, and the buildings and car parking should be located to encourage dual purpose trips. Supplementary Planning Guidance for this site was adopted in July 2000. The North West Development Agency and English Partnerships have become involved in the regeneration of the town centre as a whole. This will extend to cover the whole of the town centre including the development site, park, Concourse Centre, business sites and Findon site. It is anticipated that the resultant masterplan will integrate all these uses and lead  to development in a comprehensive manner whilst also ensuring the future vitality and viability of the Concourse Centre and Asda store.

Background Documents for Policy DE11

Planning Policy Statement 6 Planning for Town Centre
National

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy EC8 Town Centres: Retail, Leisure and Office Development 
Regional

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 2 Main Development Locations
  • Policy 16 Retail, Entertainment and Leisure Development 
Sub Regional

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • Jobs 
Local

POLICY DE12 - Ormskirk Town Centre View Map of this site ?

Proposals for development, redevelopment or expansion of existing facilities in Ormskirk Town Centre which contribute towards the economy and historic environment of the Town and are in accordance with the vision for the Town will be permitted provided that:-

  1. the design contributes to the special architectural and historic character of the Town Centre;
  2. the development can be fully integrated into the built form of the centre both in townscape terms and by maximising and enhancing pedestrian accessibility through the Centre and between the principal shopping streets and the surrounding car parks;
  3. the development incorporates, wherever appropriate, rear servicing to existing properties on the four main shopping streets currently without this facility, as part of the proposed development's servicing arrangements, or by ensuring that the design of the development does not prejudice such provision at a future date;
  4. the development incorporates, where appropriate, tree planting and landscaping to reinforce the visual, historical and ecological characteristics of the site and its surroundings;
  5. the development incorporates, where appropriate, suitable provision for public transport including bus stops and setting down points and waiting areas for taxis;
  6. the development makes safe and convenient provision for cyclists, people with disabilities, the elderly and people with young children where this is reasonably practicable and where not required by other legislation; and
  7. they comply with other policies elsewhere in this Plan.
5.61.

Justification of Policy DE12

Ormskirk Town Centre is unlike any other shopping centre in West Lancashire reflecting its historic role as a market town for the south-west Lancashire Plain. Most of the Centre lies within the Ormskirk Town Centre Conservation Area. New development will need to reflect the Centre's character both with respect to design and the use of traditional materials. Supplementary Planning Guidance has been prepared covering designs to shop fronts within the Town Centre.

5.62.

Considerable improvements have been made in recent years in opening up new pedestrian routes through the numerous alleyways linking the four main shopping streets and renovating the buildings fronting the alleys, often bringing these back into beneficial use. The retention and sensitive restoration of the remaining alleyways and yards in the Town Centre is supported and adjacent developments will be expected to respect their retention and character. Progress has also been made in providing rear servicing to many of the properties fronting the four main shopping streets, thereby enhancing the scope for the complete pedestrianisation of the Centre. As not all properties can be serviced from the rear at present, the Council will take every opportunity to secure rear servicing to the remaining properties through planning gain as part of all development proposals in the Town Centre whenever appropriate. The site on Park Road has now been developed as Two Saints Place with a range of retail and other town centre uses.

5.63.

The Council will continue its programme of works to enhance the pedestrian priority areas and improve the environment of the Town Centre in order to ensure that the centre maintains its attractiveness. A Market Towns initiative supported by the West Lancashire Forum and North West Development Agency commenced in 2006 with a 2 year timescale. This will include a health check of the whole Town which will then feed into an Action Plan. The Action Plan will identify particular projects to be undertaken which will be the subject of future funding bids.

5.64.

In implementing its plans to enhance pedestrian priority, improve the Town Centre environment and achieve wider traffic management improvements (through devising and implementing an Action Plan), the Council will also pay particular attention to the needs and safety of cyclists. This will include exploring ways in which cyclists may penetrate and use the Town Centre safely and more easily.

Background Documents for Policy DE12

Planning Policy Statement 6 Planning for Town Centres
National

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy EC8 Town Centres - Retail, Leisure and Office Development 
Regional

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 2 Main Development Locations
  • Policy 4 Development in Lancashire's Key Service Centres (Market Towns)
  • Policy 16 Retail, Entertainment and Leisure Development 
Sub Regional
Supplementary Planning Guidance Shopfront Design Guide
Local

POLICY DE13 - Business and Office Development View Map of this site ?

Within Business Areas as shown on the Proposals Map, development comprising the following uses will be permitted:-
  1. offices;
  2. other commercial uses;
  3. associated service uses;
  4. educational, health and leisure facilities;
  5. cultural and community uses;
  6. tourism.

New retail development will only be allowed in these areas if there are not any suitable sites within designated town centres and it complies with Policy DE10.

New office development will be permitted on sites within or on the edge of thetown centres of Skelmersdale, Ormskirk and Burscough and at other sites specifically allocated for such uses provided that the development is of an appropriate scale for the size and function of the centre. Business and office development will only be allowed in other locations where a specific need can be demonstrated. New office development should be accessible by public transport.

5.65.

Justification of Policy DE13

Government guidance states that town centres should be the preferred locations for development that attracts many trips. This is reflected in the Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West which directs office developments to town and district centres.The Joint Lancashire Structure Plan also encourages new office development in town centres or at transport hubs or within corridors which have good access to good public transport.

NB. In the case of development that creates or safeguards jobs the Council's Regeneration Unit can provide advice on the availability of grant assistance.

Background Documents for Policy DE13

Planning Policy Guidance Note 4 Industrial and Commercial Development and Small Firms
Planning Policy Statement 6 Planning for Town Centres 
National

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy EC8 Town Centres - Retail, Leisure and Office Development 
Regional

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 17 Office Development 
Sub Regional

POLICY DE14 - Development Opportunity Sites View Map of this site ?

The following sites are available for development for a wide range of uses excluding residential development, except where otherwise indicated in the justification text below, and providing they comply with other policies in this plan:-

  1. Land adjacent to St. James' R.C. Primary School, Ashurst, Skelmersdale;
  2. Former Nursery and Depot, Park Avenue, Ormskirk;
  3. Land to the rear of 22-44 Church Street, Ormskirk;
  4. St. Richard's Lower School, Skelmersdale;
  5. East Quarry, Appley Bridge.
  6. Skelmersdale College, Ashurst, Skelmersdale
  7. Land at former Royal Ordnance Site, Burscough
  8. Canal Wharf Buildings, Burscough

At East Quarry, an amount of residential development may be permitted provided that it is the minimum required to deliver a comprehensive mixed-use regeneration scheme for the whole site.

At the Skelmersdale College site, some residential development may be permitted provided that it is part of a mixed-use regeneration scheme for the site. Any retail uses at this site should be of a small scale which is suitable for the local centre.

5.66.

Justification of Policy DE14

Land adjacent to St. James' R.C. Primary School, Ashurst, Skelmersdale

This site is centrally located within an area of existing and proposed housing. It is adjacent to St. James' Primary School and is linked to the Ashurst Shopping Centre by an underpass. It is suitable for a range of uses but any development should include an element of public open space. Ground conditions are known to be poor on this site. Potential developers will need to undertake a detailed survey of ground conditions. The use of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) will be encouraged to ensure that surface water run-off from the site is restricted to existing rates in order to ensure that existing receiving watercourse capacity problems are not made worse. Depending on the scale of the development the developer may be required to contribute towards the cost of providing additional car parking, and/or a taxi waiting area.

5.67.

Former Nursery and Depot, Park Avenue, Ormskirk

The Council-owned site, formerly used as a Council depot and nursery, is now vacant. It could be developed for leisure or recreational purposes, possibly in conjunction with the adjacent tennis club or Coronation Park. However, as access via Park Avenue is unlikely to be acceptable, the site will need to gain access off County Road. If an independent means of access is required, improvements to the trunk road are likely to be required. The use of SuDS will be encouraged to ensure that surface water run-off from the site is restricted to existing rates in order to ensure that existing receiving watercourse capacity problems are not made worse.

5.68.

Land to the rear of 22-44 Church Street, Ormskirk

The land between the rear of 22-44 Church Street and The Stiles Car Park contains a number of derelict buildings, including the former Burgess Brewery site, as well as a Gospel Mission and small retail unit. Redevelopment of this site would improve the appearance of this part of the Conservation Area, as well as enabling rear servicing to be provided to the properties fronting Church Street. It is suitable for a range of uses which would be appropriate in a town centre location. The use of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) will be encouraged to ensure that surface water run-off from the site is restricted to existing rates in order to ensure that existing receiving watercourse capacity problems are not made worse.

5.69.

St. Richard's Lower School, Skelmersdale

This building is well located, easily accessed, has existing parking and servicing areas and is of a size (approx. 15,500 sq.ft.) and design which could be readily converted for a range of business uses. If this is not feasible a small-scale shopping parade to serve the new housing proposed at St. Richard's Upper School may be appropriate.The Council has prepared a Development Brief for this site. Part of the building is currently used by the DSS Job Club.

5.70.

East Quarry and adjoining land/premises, Appley Bridge

This disused quarry and the adjoining land and premises lies close to Appley Bridge Station. It offers potential for a range of tourism, leisure and employment uses. Developer of this site will be required to develop the area to a comprehensive master plan which includes provision for a road linking Mill Lane to Appley Lane North; improved park and ride facilities at the station and retention or relocation of the community centre. Surface water drainage from the site must be catered for without increasing the risk of flooding from Calico Brook.

5.71.

Skelmersdale College, Ashurst, Skelmersdale

The former site of the Skelmersdale College was previously allocated as green space. The site offers the potential for a range of uses and would be suitable for community or educational uses and retail uses which could enhance the adjacent Ashurst shopping centre. Residential uses would be considered on this site provided that the proposal was part of a mixed use scheme and fitted with wider regeneration initiatives and contributed to the remaining area of green space for recreational use. The use of SuDS will be encouraged to ensure that surface water run-off from the site is restricted to existing rates in order to ensure that existing receiving watercourse capacity problems are not made worse.

5.72.

Land at the former Royal Ordnance Depot, Briars Lane, Burscough

This land forms part of a larger site which has the benefit of planning permission for a mixture of uses. It is allocated for mixed development in the adopted Local Plan. A large part of the site has now been developed for housing. The remainder, which is covered by this policy, has permission for a day nursery, starter workshop units, shop units, a small supermarket and a public house. Although the area has not been developed it still offers a good opportunity to provide development that will provide some local employment to replace that lost when the depot closed as well as services for local people.

5.73.

Canal Wharf Buildings, Burscough

These former canal wharf buildings have lain largely vacant for a number of years. They are ideally located close to the centre of Burscough and also lie adjacent to the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.The reuse of the buildings could contribute positively to the regeneration of Burscough.The uses envisaged by this policy include community facilities (including meeting facilities or a relocation of the library), a heritage centre, and other tourist /leisure facilities, including possibly a cafe.

POLICY DE15 - Tollgate Road /Pippin Street, Burscough View Map of this site ?

A mixed development of employment and non-food bulky goods retail will be permitted on land at Tollgate Road/Pippin Street. The retail element of the development will only be permitted if:-

  1. it complies with Policy DE10;
  2. it consists entirely of non-food bulky goods and does not take up more than 50% of the site;
  3. there is a clearly defined need;
  4. there is no alternative available site in or adjacent to any existing Town Centre;
  5. a retail impact assessment shows that the development would not harm the vitality and viability of any existing Town Centre; and
  6. it would provide a delivery mechanism for the remainder of the site to be developed for employment uses.

Any development should be part of a comprehensive plan complying with Supplementary Planning Guidance and incorporating appropriate highway improvements and the provision of a buffer zone between the development and the adjoining residential area.

5.74.

Justification of Policy DE15

Based upon the results of the Ormskirk Retail Study (2003) there is a need for provision to be made for the sale of non-food bulky goods in Ormskirk. At the moment the level of need is limited but this is likely to grow over the lifespan of the Local Plan. To provide too much retail floorspace early in the plan period could undermine and harm the vitality and viability of Ormskirk Town Centre and could impact on Burscough and Skelmersdale Town Centres. Therefore it is likely that a phased scheme would have to be devised to ensure that the scheme would not adversely affect Ormskirk Town Centre.

5.75.

There is a shortage of land for employment generating uses that this site can help to overcome. Therefore any retail development should be linked with and provide the delivery mechanism for at least half of the site to be developed for employment uses. Any uses would need to be compatible with any retail development and neighbouring residential uses.

5.76.

The design should include the provision of a new roundabout and/or other improvements at the junction of Pippin Street and the A59. The provision of a buffer zone between the development and the properties on Lordsgate Lane is required to protect the amenity of local residents.

POLICY DE16 - Former Hattersley Works, Burscough Road, Ormskirk View Map of this site ?

The development of the site of the former Hattersley works on Burscough Road, Ormskirk, for light industrial and/or office uses will be permitted. An element of non-food bulky goods retail or leisure uses may be permitted, providing it can be demonstrated that such development is necessary to provide a delivery mechanism for the remainder of the site for employment uses, and that the following criteria are satisfied:

  1. it complies with Policy DE10;
  2. it consists entirely of non-food bulky goods and does not take up more than 25% of the site;
  3. there is a clearly defined need for such a use;
  4. there is no alternative available site in or adjacent to an existing Town Centre; and
  5. a retail impact assessment shows that the development would not harm the vitality and viability of any existing Town Centre.

Any development should be part of a comprehensive plan complying with the approved Supplementary Planning Guidance, incorporating appropriate highway improvements and access arrangements, and should be accompanied by a Design Statement which, in particular, would need to clearly set out how the design relates to the surrounding area. 

5.77.

Justification of Policy DE16

The site lies within a designated employment area, of which there are very few within Ormskirk. The Council is keen to retain the site for uses that will provide employment for local people. The preferred option for this site would be light industrial and/or office use, bearing in mind the proximity to residential properties.

5.78.

Based upon the results of the Ormskirk Retail Study (2003), there is a need for provision to be made for the sale of non-food bulky goods in Ormskirk. However, the study also showed that there was no quantitative need for extra food retail, and therefore food retail is not supported on this site.

5.79.

The Design Statement to be submitted along with any planning application should demonstrate, amongst other things, how the design of the development relates to adjoining or adjacent buildings, and to the area generally.The statement should pay attention to access to the site, and to achieving high quality of design and a scale appropriate to its setting. Particular attention should be given to design details along the Burscough Road frontage, with the existing building fronting Burscough Road being retained if possible.

5.80.

A Development Brief has been prepared for the former Hattersley site, and is available as Supplementary Planning Guidance. This Brief reiterates the points mentioned above, and gives further details on design considerations.

Background Documents for Policy DE16

Supplementary Planning Guidance Hattersley's Premises, Burscough Road, Ormskirk (Janurary 2004)
Local

(POLICY NOT SAVED) DE17 - Tourism Development POLICY NOT SAVED View Map of this site ?

Tourist facilities and visitor accommodation will be permitted on sites within the built-up areas of towns and villages or within existing buildings provided that:-

  1. the infrastructure and environment is able to accommodate the visitor impacts;
  2. the existing amenities for local residents and businesses are protected; and
  3. the location is, especially in respect of large-scale visitor attractions, conveniently accessible by public transport.

Proposals for large-scale leisure and conference facilities will be treated the same as retail development in Policy DE10.

Improved facilities will be supported at existing tourist destinations in West Lancashire where they will:-

  1. improve the quality of the visitor experience;
  2. maintain or improve the local environment; and
  3. limit any adverse impact on the local community.

In accordance with Policy DS4, small-scale low-intensity tourism uses may be permitted on urban fringe sites that are not in the Green Belt.

5.81.

Justification of Policy DE17

Tourism is one of the country's most important industries. The Government's policy is "that the tourism industry should flourish in response to the market while respecting the environment which attracts visitors but also has far wider and enduring value" (PPG21, para 1.2).

5.82.

The Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West states that development plans should facilitate the provision of employment by encouraging the growth of tourism within the North West. In the historic towns of Lancashire the emphasis should be on sustaining and adding quality rather than mere quantity. In determining locations for major tourism and leisure attractions and facilities, including visitor accommodation, plans should give priority to areas that have existing facilities and where development will contribute to regeneration within the defined Regeneration Priority Areas.

5.83.

The Joint Lancashire Structure Plan directs major hotel developments to town centre or edge of centre sites and coastal resorts unless a need is demonstrated in other locations. It directs tourism development that draws visitors from a county-wide, regional or wider catchment to coastal towns or the Regeneration Priority Areas. It recognises that some tourism development proposals may only be located in a rural area. Such proposals will be judged acceptable if they are of an appropriate scale, assist rural regeneration, and the environment and infrastructure can accommodate the visitor impact.They should also be assessed against Green Belt Policy DS2.

5.84.

At a local level, West Lancashire is not a traditional holiday destination but it does contain a variety of tourism facilities. Being readily accessible from Merseyside and Greater Manchester, it is an ideal location for day trips. It also benefits from its proximity to Southport which caters for a large number of longer stay visits. People staying in Southport can be attracted to some of the facilities in West Lancashire. Also West Lancashire contains a number of caravan sites which cater for people who enjoy a rural location within a short driving distance of a coastal resort.

5.85.

The Council wishes to facilitate the provision of additional tourist attractions and accommodation for visitors but is keen to ensure that this does not conflict with other policies of the Local Plan, particularly Green Belt policy. Therefore, such facilities will be expected to be located in areas outside the Green Belt unless they involve the reuse of existing buildings. In cases where a development is likely to be a major attraction it should be capable of being served by public transport in order to limit the need to travel by car. It will also be important to achieve a high standard of design which respects the local environment, minimises disturbance to neighbouring uses and assists in attracting visitors. Wherever possible, proposals should include the creation of new areas of woodland or the management of existing woodland for informal recreation.

5.86.

The Council is also keen to encourage existing tourism destinations to improve, but only where this does not have an adverse impact on the environment, the Green Belt or local people. The quiet rural character of the area and the distinctiveness of the towns, villages and countryside helps to attract visitors to West Lancashire. This policy is designed to ensure that new facilities do not destroy the District's attractiveness. It also ensures that the local community does not suffer unduly from the improvement of existing facilities.

NB. In the case of development that creates or safeguards jobs the Council's Regeneration Unit can provide advice on the availability of grant assistance.

Background Documents for Policy DE17

Planning Policy Guidance Note 21 TourismNational

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy EC10 Tourism and Recreation
Regional

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 18 Major Hotel Development
  • Policy 19 Tourism Development
Sub Regional

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • Jobs
Local

(POLICY NOT SAVED) DE18 - Advertisements POLICY NOT SAVED View Map of this site ?

Proposals involving advertisements will be permitted provided that the development does not adversely affect amenity or highways safety.

5.87.

Justification of Policy DE18

Commercial premises need to advertise their presence and the goods and services on offer for functional reasons, and many advertisements can be displayed without the need for consent. Where consent is required, the Council will seek to ensure that the right balance is struck between the functional need for the advertisement and the effect that this will have on the environment. If well designed, advertisements can brighten up and enliven town centres. However, care is needed to relate their scale, siting and design to the building to which they relate. Proposals that involve advertisements in Conservation Areas should preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area. Advertisements that are insensitive or damage the historic environment should not be permitted. Displays should not confuse, conflict or obscure any functional signage or traffic signals for public safety reasons. In the countryside advertisements will be assessed to ensure that they do not detract from the appearance of the area in which they are proposed.

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Disclaimer: This adopted West Lancashire District Proposals Map forms the 'lower tier' of the two-tier Plan in Lancashire. The 'upper tier' comprises the Lancashire Structure Plan.