6. Social and Community


"Meeting People's Needs"

The policies in this chapter aim to meet the social and community needs of local people, helping to achieve the Government's aim of creating and sustaining mixed and inclusive communities. The policies help to achieve the overriding aim of the Regional Spatial Strategy - to promote sustainable patterns of spatial development and physical change - by, amongst other means, planning for and integrating provision of homes, workplaces, infrastructure and services.


The policies build on West Lancashire's Community Strategy which strives to ensure equality of opportunity and access to services by improving the health, care, cultural, recreational and transport facilities in the District. The policies also take into account the consultation on the Local Plan which revealed that improved public transport would be well supported especially in rural communities. It also revealed support for more recreation facilities for older children and improved access to the countryside. Generally the views on school provision were mixed but there was unanimous agreement that land should be reserved for further health facilities in Skelmersdale Town Centre.

POLICY SC1 - Sports, Recreational, Leisure and Cultural Facilities View Map of this site ?

Development which results in the loss of any sports, recreational, open space, leisure or cultural facilities (including school playing fields) will only be permitted if:-

  1. the loss forms part of a proposal for the improvement of sports, recreational, open space, leisure or cultural facilities serving the needs of the local community; or
  2. compensatory sports, open space, recreational, leisure or cultural facilities to equivalent or improved standard are provided which are easily accessible, available to local people and capable of meeting existing needs, and satisfactory arrangements are made for their future maintenance; or
  3. where it forms part of a scheme which provides an overall benefit to the local community in social, environmental and economic terms.

Development resulting in the loss of playing fields will only be permitted if:

  1. it is demonstrated through a quantified and documented assessment that there is an excess of playing field provision in the catchment, and the site has no special significance to the interest of sport; and
  2. the proposed development is ancillary to the principal use of the site as a playing pitch or playing fields, and does not affect the quantity or quality of pitches or adversely affect their use; and
  3. the playing field(s) which would be lost as a result of the proposed development would be replaced by a playing field(s) of an equivalent or better quality and equivalent or greater quantity, in a suitable location and subject to equivalent or better management arrangements, prior to the commencement of the development; and
  4. the proposed facility is for an indoor or outdoor sports facility, the provision of which would be a significant benefit to the development of sport as to outweigh the detriment caused by the loss of the playing field(s).

Outdoor sport and recreational facilities will be permitted in green spaces, and on protected land or in the Green Belt provided that they comply with all relevant policies.

Indoor recreational, leisure and cultural facilities will be permitted within the built-up areas of the towns and villages provided they do not have a detrimental effect on residential amenity. In identifying sites and assessing proposals for this sort of development, regard will be had to the need for the proposed development, its scale in relation to the settlement and centre in which it is to be located, and the sequential approach to selecting sites set out in PPS6 and Local Plan Policy DE10.

NB.The larger facilities are shown on the Proposals Map but the policy applies to all sports (including school playing fields), recreational, open space, leisure (including allotments) or cultural facilities


Justification of Policy SC1

Sport, recreation, leisure and culture are important components of a civilised life. They have important social and economic roles in society. Participation can help improve people's health and sense of well-being. Government guidance (PPG17: Sport and Recreation) states that "it is part of the function of the planning system to ensure that adequate land and water resources are allocated both for organised sport and for informal recreation" (para. 3). It also states that local plan policies should protect "public and private open space and other land of recreational, conservation, wildlife, historical or amenity value" (para. 15).


The Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West states that development plans should create and enhance urban green space networks by ensuring adequate protection is given to key features such as parks, linear walkways, river valleys, canals and public open spaces.


West Lancashire contains a variety of public and private sports, recreation, open space leisure and cultural facilities which cater for the various recreational and sporting activities of the local population. It is expected that the demand for such facilities will grow and it is important that the facilities which are valued and used by local people are not lost. Therefore the Council will resist the loss of playing fields, recreational or amenity open space including children's play areas or any other facilities used for sport, recreation or leisure. If a developer can provide adequate replacement  facilities which are easily accessible and available to local people, or an assessment is undertaken which clearly shows that the facility is surplus to requirements, the Council may be willing to accept the loss of certain facilities. For open space, demonstrating ‘surplus to requirements’ should include consideration of all functions that open space can perform. The Council will need to be convinced that any facilities which are to be provided are of the same or higher quality as those lost.


The highest priority of West Lancashire's Community Strategy is to take action against crime and the fear of crime. The Community Safety Strategy aims to develop creative and purposeful diversionary activities for young people. Therefore it is important that this policy is used to retain and improve sports, recreational, open space, leisure and cultural facilities which can be used by local people, especially young people. However there may be cases where areas are felt to be unsafe and there may be benefits in redesigning, removing or relocating some facilities where it is part of a wider scheme offering a range of benefits to the local community. Any such schemes should have the overall support of the local community.



Although outdoor sport and recreation facilities are generally acceptable in most locations, it is important that they be sensitively located to avoid damaging the environment. New sports and recreation facilities include golf courses, football, rugby and hockey pitches, tennis courts, bowling greens, shooting, archery, war games, etc. Each type of facility can damage different aspects of the environment and so any proposed development will need to be carefully considered against other policies in this Local Plan. Any development in the Green Belt would have to comply with the appropriate policies in the Core Strategy chapters of this Plan.


The Council is keen to encourage the provision of indoor sport and recreation facilities in appropriate locations. Indoor sport is an unacceptable use in the Green Belt unless it involves the use of an existing building.

Background Documents for Policy SC1

Planning Policy Guidance Note 17 Sport and RecreationNational

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy EC9 Tourism and Recreation
  • Policy EC10 Sport
  • Policy UR2 An Inclusive Social Infrastructure
  • Policy RU4 Local Services in Rural Areas 

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • Leisure 

POLICY SC2 - Recreation Facilities View Map of this site ?

Facilities for informal countryside recreation activities are proposed at the following sites as shown on the Proposals Map:-

  1. Hunters Hill, Wrightington
  2. Calico Brook, Appley Bridge;
  3. Parbold Hill, Parbold;
  4. Platts Lane and Mill Dam Lane, Burscough.
  5. Chequer Lane, Up Holland

Proposals will also be developed to protect and improve facilities at existing countryside recreation sites shown on the Proposals Map at:-

  1. Beacon Country Park, Skelmersdale
  2. Tawd Valley Park, Skelmersdale
  3. Fairy Glen, Appley Bridge
  4. Dean Wood, Up Holland
  5. Abbey Lakes, Up Holland
  6. Ruff Wood, Ormskirk
  7. Platts Lane Lake, Burscough

New children's play areas are proposed on the sites shown on the Proposals Map at:-

  1. Lathom Avenue, Parbold (0.2 ha)
  2. Tabbys Nook, Newburgh (0.2 ha)
  3. Abbeystead, Digmoor, Skelmersdale (0.5 ha)
  4. Redgate, Ormskirk (1.0 ha)
  5. Elm Place, Ormskirk (0.6 ha)
  6. Land East of Eavesdale, Skelmersdale (0.9 ha)
  7. Bescar Lane, Bescar (0.2 ha)
  8. Bramble Way, Parbold (2.1 ha)

Justification of Policy SC2

The proposed sites are at significant locations in the landscape and offer potential for a variety of informal countryside recreation activities. The provision of small car parks, picnic areas, footpaths and landscaping to increase the attractiveness of these sites for informal use would take the pressure off other sites and cater for the rising demand for such facilities. The existing sites are managed by the District Council and have the potential to accommodate more visitors, which will take some of the pressure off the surrounding countryside. The provision of play areas in the locations shown on the Proposals Map will assist in providing recreation facilities in areas which are remote from existing areas of public open space or playing fields.

  1. Hunters Hill, Wrightington: This site is a former quarry set in the Wrightington upland area. Its elevation above the Douglas Valley and the West Lancashire Plain gives magnificent views outwards. It is close to public rights of way, and is suitable for use for informal recreation, but requires some low key environmental improvements and the creation of a safe access and small car park. It could accommodate facilities for picnicking, cycling, walking and horse-riding.
  2. Calico Brook, Appley Bridge: This site is adjacent to the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and the River Douglas. It offers great potential for both formal and informal recreation facilities related to the Canal.
  3. Parbold Hill, Parbold: An improved layout on a larger site would improve road safety at the established vantage point on Parbold Hill where the existing arrangement can lead to cars reversing on to the A5209 in a dangerous location. It would also enable the creation of a more attractive picnic area. Measures must be undertaken to ensure that no danger is likely to be caused to the users of the car park and picnic area by landfill gas.
  4. Platts Lane and Mill Dam Lane, Burscough: The Platts Lane site is owned partly by the County Council and partly by the District Council and the Mill Dam Lane site is owned by the District Council. Both sites were formerly tipped and have been restored to grassland, but problems of landfill gas need to be resolved before full use can be made of them.
  5. Chequer Lane, Up Holland: The Council has developed this site in partnership with the Environment Agency to create a fishing pond.
  6. Beacon Country Park, Skelmersdale: Beacon Country Park is the District's major countryside recreation facility. The Council is continuously improving the park using its own resources and with the assistance of volunteer rangers and the voluntary sector.
  7. Tawd Valley Park, Skelmersdale: The wooded valley of the River Tawd where it runs through Skelmersdale has been used to create a linear park which is accessible to many residential areas. The form of the Park is dictated by the river and the natural landscape, which is largely undisturbed except for the creation of footpaths. It has the potential to provide a range of facilities for informal recreation.
  8. Fairy Glen, Appley Bridge: A steep heavily wooded valley carrying a stream down to the River Douglas. It is a site of ecological and archaeological interest and is close to the residential areas of Appley Bridge. Only minor improvements are required to assist in the protection and interpretation of the site.
  9. Dean Wood, Up Holland: A narrow and deeply incised valley which is heavily wooded. The majority of the site is owned by the District Council. Minor improvements to the footpaths have been carried out with assistance from "The Friends of Dean Wood", a voluntary organisation set up to protect and conserve this woodland. The environmental and natural history value of the valley limits any further recreational development to low key uses.
  10. Abbey Lakes, Up Holland: This site which is controlled by the Council is heavily wooded and contains a large pond with an island sanctuary. It shelters a variety of birds and wildlife and is used for low key informal recreation including angling. Large numbers of visitors or active recreation pursuits would destroy its essential character.
  11. Ruff Wood, Ormskirk: This site, which is controlled by the Council, is a mature woodland on the edge of Ormskirk. It is an important site for red squirrels and contains a variety of wildlife. The paths through the woods have been improved by the Council and the "Friends of Ruff Wood". The site is mainly used for walking and relaxation.
  12. Platts Lane Lake, Burscough: This lake is owned by the Council and is used for informal recreation.

Background Documents for Policy SC2

Planning Policy Guidance Note 17 Sport and Recreation

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy EC10 Tourism and Recreation 

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • Leisure

POLICY SC3 - Linear Parks View Map of this site ?

Three new Linear Parks as defined in the Proposals Map are proposed along:-

  1. The Canal and River Douglas Corridor in Tarleton and Hesketh Bank;
  2. The former Ormskirk-Skelmersdale Railway Line; and
  3. The former railway line at Banks

It is intended that these facilities will provide for informal countryside recreation opportunities, including horse riding where possible, as well as important cycling and pedestrian links between and within communities for leisure, travel to school, employment and shopping. It is intended that the inear parks will also provide opportunities for the incorporation of public art features, as well as the interpretation of the local heritage of the route and improvements to its biodiversity potential.

In the case of the Tarleton and Hesketh Bank Linear Park, new or improved tourist attractions will be considered in the area of the former Alty's Brickworks site, provided that these do not adversely affect the local highway network or residential amenity, and that they complement and link to the function of the linear park.


Justification of Policy SC3

These linear park proposals are intended to serve a variety of purposes. They will be important for informal leisure, but will also be sustainable and safe transport corridors for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders. The linear routes will form important wildlife corridors and the treatment of the routes will be important to maximise their biodiversity potential. All the routes are based upon historic transport corridors.


River/Canal Corridor,Tarleton and Hesketh Bank:

The use of the river and canal is beginning to increase since the creation of the Ribble Link, which is a new canal linking the Lancaster Canal via the Ribble Estuary and Tarleton Lock to the Rufford Branch of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. There is scope to develop this area as a linear park containing footpaths and cycleways. There is also a proposal to develop a Regional Park based upon the River Ribble, and this proposal fits in with this concept. The early consultation on the Local Plan revealed strong support for the improvement of the area alongside the Rufford Branch and the River Douglas in Tarleton and Hesketh Bank. The route also contains the former track bed of a branchline down to Tarleton off the former Southport-Preston rail line.


The creation of a cycle route through the Linear Park accords with the District Council's Cycling Strategy, and will provide links to the main secondary school in Tarleton, as well as between the main centres of Tarleton and Hesketh Bank, avoiding the busy main road. A route along the river will also link in with the creation of the Southport-Preston section of the National Cycle Network, which is currently being developed by Lancashire County Council. This may involve a new river crossing in the vicinity of Alty's Brickworks.


Most of the land is in private ownership and further consultation and feasibility work is required before a detailed scheme can be drawn up. It is expected, however, that there are several potential sources of funding which can be used to develop this proposal further.


In terms of the Alty’s Brickworks site, this is considered to form a pivotal role in the development of the Park. This could form the interchange of the cycle and pedestrian route to the south and the National Cycle Network and Coastal Footpath which may cross the River Douglas at this point. The former brickworks site already contains the West Lancashire Light Railway and a large area of water, as well as employment uses. These could potentially be developed further to create a more focussed tourist attraction which would complement the Linear Park and the wider Ribble Estuary Regional Park. Any development here, however, would need to ensure that that there are no detrimental effects upon neighbouring residential property or wildlife habitats, and that traffic generation does not adversely affect the local highway network.


Former Ormskirk - Skelmersdale Railway Line

This former railway line became disused in the 1960s and has subsequently been mainly sold off to private ownership. It is largely derelict apart from an area of public open space which is in District Council ownership at the Ormskirk end of the line. Part of the line has been built on at Westhead, and there is a dwelling on the line at the Skelmersdale end.


A cycle and pedestrian route has already been developed at the Ormskirk end of the line, linking to Ormskirk Station, Ormskirk CE Primary School and neighbouring residential areas. As part of the enhancement of Ormskirk Bus Station, this also links into Ormskirk Town Centre.


The Local Transport Plan and the West Lancashire Cycling Strategy both identify the former rail line as an important link between the two settlements, avoiding the narrow and busy main road. It will also enable useful links to be made to the new secondary school at Crosshall Brow, Ormskirk. in addition, the Skelmersdale Cycling Study identifies the route as providing an important connection between Skelmersdale and Ormskirk. In terms of use by horses, the route is shown as an important component in the Bridleway Strategy.


The creation of a linear park will enable the route to perform a variety of functions - both for informal recreation, and as an important connection between the settlements of Ormskirk, Westhead and Skelmersdale for shopping, leisure, transport interchange and education. It will also allow the proper historic interpretation of the route through retention of any remaining former railway features and through innovative public art. There will also be an opportunity to build upon the environmental importance of the corridor for the flora and fauna which already exist.


There is still some feasibility work which needs to be done on bringing together this linear park proposal, and the District and County Councils are currently liaising on these matters. Discussions will also need to take place with private landowners who own parts of the line. Potential sources of funding include the Local Transport Plan, derelict land monies and landfill tax monies.


Former Railway Line, Banks

The creation of this linear park will provide informal recreational facilities within the settlement of Banks and links to the countryside outside the settlement. Further work needs to be undertaken with the Environment Agency to assess the feasibility of this proposal. Longer-term work will be undertaken to assess the best way to link this route with the proposed linear park at Hesketh Bank, and also westwards to Southport.The route will also be assessed to see how it fits in with the proposals for a Regional Park at the Ribble Estuary.

Background Documents for Policy SC3

Planning Policy Guidance Note 13 Transport
Planning Policy Guidance Note 17 Sport andRecreation

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy EC9 Tourism and Recreation
  • Policy CZ3 Coastal Communities and Economic Development
  • Policy T8 The National Cycle Network
  • Policy UR12 Regional Park Resources 

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • Leisure & Transport 
West Lancashire Cycling Strategy

POLICY SC4 - Educational Facilities View Map of this site ?

Development for nurseries, schools, colleges and other educational facilities will be permitted within the built up areas of the District's towns and villages provided that they are conveniently located to serve the needs of the local community and they do not have a detrimental effect on residential amenity.

Proposals involving the loss of playing fields and sports facilities will also be subject to policy SC1.

Built development required to improve or expand the educational facilities at Edge Hill College, Ormskirk, and Skelmersdale College will be permitted within the areas shown on the Proposals Map.

The redevelopment of redundant educational facilities and associated playing fields will be permitted for community, leisure, tourism or small scale employment uses. The use of the site should be considered for community uses first and, where this is not achievable, evidence submitted with any application will need to demonstrate this.

Where built development is proposed on such sites, an assessment should be undertaken which clearly demonstrates that any open space or recreational land affected is surplus to requirements. The assessment of open space should consider all the functions that open space can perform. Furthermore, the development of redundant playing fields will only be permitted where it can be demonstrated that there is adequate provision of public open space in the local area. In the case of Skelmersdale, redevelopment for other uses will be permitted where this forms part of a wider estate regeneration plan.


Justification of Policy SC4

Promoting access to good educational facilities is a fundamental aim of central and local government. All the local community should be able to reach educational facilities as easily as possible. Therefore they should be located within the main towns and villages in locations which have good access to residential areas. This also protects the character of the open countryside and avoids the need to build on agricultural land. However, it is important that uses which could generate noise, disturbance or loss of privacy are sensitively located away from residential property or designed to reduce their impact on local residents.


With pupil numbers declining in certain parts of the District, it is likely that some schools may become surplus to requirements.Where this occurs, the reuse or redevelopment of these buildings for community or employment uses will be acceptable. In the case of Skelmersdale, redundant primary school sites may be important components of a wider estate regeneration initiative and proposals for the reuse of the sites will need to conform to a wider plan to regenerate the area.

Background Documents for Policy SC4

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy UR2 An Inclusive Social Infrastructure
  • Policy RU4 Local Services in Rural Areas 

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • Skills and Learning 

POLICY SC5 - Health Facilities View Map of this site ?

New Health Care facilities should be located in town centres, local shopping areas or other locations which are accessible by public transport, provided that they do not have a detrimental effect on residential amenity.

Development required to improve and expand the health care facilities at the Ormskirk and District General Hospital will be permitted within the area shown on the Proposals Map.

Development required to improve or expand the health care facilities at Wrightington Hospital 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.

Land will be reserved for a new health care facility at Skelmersdale Town Centre, as part of any masterplan for the development of this area.


Justification of Policy SC5

Local health facilities are vital services for the local community and should be located where they can be accessed by everyone.


The Ormskirk and District General Hospital provides an essential service within West Lancashire and the Council will support any proposals to improve or expand the facilities which it provides.


Wrightington Hospital contains a number of large substantial buildings within an attractive rural setting. The Council is keen to encourage the expansion and improvement of facilities at this hospital and therefore the policy allows such development in accordance with advice in PPG2. Because of its location within the Green Belt it is important that extensions or redevelopment do not reduce the open character of the Green Belt. Wrightington Hall, which lies within the area covered by Policy SC5, is a Grade II* Listed Building and therefore any proposals likely to affect the character or setting of the building will be judged against Policy EN5.


The Primary Care Trust is planning the provision of a drop-in health care facility in Skelmersdale Town Centre which will form part of the planned improvement and expansion of the Town Centre.

Background Documents for Policy SC5

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy UR2 An Inclusive Social Infrastructure
  • Policy RU4 Local Services in Rural Areas 

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 -2006

  • Health and Social Care 

POLICY SC6 - Roads View Map of this site ?

Development on, or which has implications, for trunk roads will be strictly controlled in order that such roads may continue to perform their function as routes for the safe and expeditious movement of long-distance through traffic. Access will be particularly restricted in the case of motorways and the most strategic routes on the network, with a less restrictive approach to the remainder of the network.

Where necessary, developers will be required to carry out highway works (where these are considered acceptable) to protect the safety and efficiency of the road network and to accommodate all traffic, including that generated by the development.

Public transport alternatives to car access will be encouraged, and these will be taken into account when assessing the need for highway works.

Any highway works will require suitable environmental mitigation measures, including noise attenuation measures, the restoration and enhancement of landscape features, protection of wildlife and ecology and, where appropriate, allow for the suitable presentation of, and public access to, any exposed geological features.

Simple Transport Assessments will be required for all developments of 500sqm gross floor area or more and Comprehensive Transport Assessments and Travel Plans will be required from developers in accordance with the requirements set out in the Lancashire Parking Standards. The format and content of these assessments must be agreed by the Local Planning and Highway Authorities, preferably at an early stage.

Any costs for road works associated with a land use proposal will be borne by the developer and construction completed under a Section 278 Agreement of the Highways Act 1980.

Planning permission will not be granted for development which would prejudice the future construction of the A570 Ormskirk Bypass. 


Justification of Policy SC6

Whilst the choice of sites for specific forms of development has had regard to their accessibility in order to reduce the number of car trips, highway improvements may be needed to accommodate traffic generated by proposals. There is a clear need for developments to be acceptable - or rendered acceptable - from the point of view of their implications for the highway network and all highway users, including buses, cyclists and pedestrians. It is therefore important that developments do not compromise the safe movement and free flow of traffic or the safe use of roads by others. It is also important that both the County Council and District Council work together in partnership to address local transport issues.


With increasing traffic levels and congestion, it has become commonplace for developers to undertake or fund highway or junction improvements which are required to increase highway capacity or reduce safety problems in the vicinity of the development site. The District Council will encourage, wherever possible, the use of recycled materials in road construction, to maximise environmental benefits.


Simple transport assessments will be required for all developments of 500sqm gross floor area and above, and this includes extensions to existing buildings, where the cumulative floorspace will exceed 500sqm, and changes of use. Comprehensive Transport Assessments and travel plans must be submitted in accordance with the criteria set out in the adopted Lancashire Parking Standards. These set thresholds for different types of development. Any assessments will have to take into account of and be considered against relevant Government guidance on Transport Assessments.


Trunk roads, including motorways, are the responsibility of the Highways Agency. Circular 4/2001 outlines policies in respect of the control of development on trunk roads. The Department has a strict policy of not allowing direct access from private development to motorways or motorway slip roads unless the development relates to motorway service areas, road junctions or motorway maintenance compounds. The Secretary of State will direct Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) to refuse planning applications for development whose access arrangements breach this policy. There are currently proposals to de-trunk the trunk roads in West Lancashire, and if this happens these roads will become the responsibility of the Lancashire County Council.


On all-purpose trunk roads it is clearly necessary in general to restrict the formation of new accesses to them if they are to continue to perform their function as routes for the safe and expeditious movement of long-distance through traffic. A particularly strict policy is appropriate to fast stretches of rural trunk roads, and to trunk roads of near motorway standard inside and outside the urban areas.


The Highways Agency would not expect to object to developments consistent with the proposals in the Local Plan, subject to the completion of any highway works which it considered necessary and acceptable in relation to the trunk road network. Any costs for road works associated with land use proposals will be borne by the developer and construction completed under a Section 278 Agreement of the Highways Act 1980.


Appendix 3 of the Regional Spatial Strategy identifies the A570 from its junction with the M58 through to Southport as a Route of Regional Significance. Policy 8 of the Joint Lancashire Structure Plan identifies the Ormskirk Bypass as a major scheme to be pursued through the Local Transport Plan. The Bypass is identified in the Community Strategy Action Plan as a scheme, the development of which should be encouraged. As part of the delivery of the Ormskirk Bypass scheme, the District Council will continue to press for adequate links to Burscough and improvements along the rest of the A570.


The latest proposed route and positions of junctions in the Highway Authority's Ormskirk Bypass Plans are highlighted on Map 5 of the Proposals Map. This complies with the District Council's statutory responsibility to safeguard the route of the Bypass from inappropriate development. However, the precise route of the Bypass and the locations, types and design of junctions have still to be finalised. Thus, they could change during the remaining planning and design stages and the full proposals will be subject to public consultation and Inquiry processes. Inclusion of the details on Map 5 does not imply that the District Council endorses the detailed route of the Bypass or locations of the junctions shown.

Background Documents for Policy SC6

Planning Policy Guidance Note 13 Transport
Using the Planning Process to Secure Travel Plans - Best Practice
Guidance for Local Authorities, Developers and Occupiers (DfT/ODPM, 2002) 

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy T3 Regional Highway Network 

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 8 Strategic Road Network and Proposed Improvements 
Sub Regional
Joint Lancashire Structure Plan - Supplementary Planning Guidance for Acess and Parking (2005)Sub Regional

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • Getting Around 

POLICY SC7 - Public Transport View Map of this site ?

 The proportion of journeys made by public bus services will be increased by requiring major new developments to be of a scale and design to allow access by bus and, for example, by the provision of lay-bys, turning areas and bus shelters etc. Where it can be shown that there will be no significant detrimental impact on the local environment, planning permission will be granted for new and improved public transport facilities, especially bus access, bus/rail interchanges, new or
improved bus stations, park and ride and other facilities to assist passengers and improve community safety subject to other policies in the Plan.

Development will not be permitted which would prejudice future provision of the following:-

  1. an improved bus/rail interchange at Ormskirk;
  2. a new bus station at Skelmersdale;
  3. reinstatement of the Burscough Curves;
  4. improved car and cycle parking facilities at stations;
  5. a bus/rail interchange and car parking at Up Holland Station;
  6. provision of additional park and ride spaces at Appley Bridge;
  7. electrification of the rail line from Kirkby to Wigan and Ormskirk to Burscough Bridge using the Burscough Curves;
  8. the provision of a rail halt at Mill Dam Lane;
  9. provision of a new station building and improved facilities at Burscough Bridge Station;
  10. rail freight facilities at Simonswood and Pimbo Employment Areas;
  11. new rail passenger facilities at Skelmersdale;
  12. improvements to Parbold Rail Station; and
  13. improved facilities on the Quality Bus Route between Wigan and Southport.

Small-scale retail facilities may be permitted as part of the Ormskirk bus station redevelopment to complement the facility and assist with the continued funding of the maintenance of the bus station.

Appropriate community facilities may be permitted at any new station building at Burscough Bridge Station, provided they complement its role as a station facility.


Justification of Policy SC7

Government guidance (PPG13:Transport) states that "development plans should aim to reduce the need to travel, especially by car" (para. 1.7). The Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West recognises that a high quality transport system is essential to support the competitiveness of industry and commerce, and to facilitate the Region's social and recreational needs. The Joint Lancashire Structure Plan includes policies aimed at reducing trips by car. Policy 10 of the Structure Plan proposes an improved rail /bus interchange at Ormskirk and a new bus station in Skelmersdale.


If travel by car is to be reduced, then suitable alternative modes of transport must be made available. Increased use of buses can bring about environmental benefits in terms of reduced pollution and congestion. It is therefore important that major new development is well served, or capable of being served by the bus network, reducing the need to travel by private car.


The Community Safety Strategy aims to reduce incidences of anti-social behaviour related to public transport by, amongst other methods, implementing environmental improvements to bus stop environs and supporting the Quality Bus Route initiative in West Lancashire.


The Council will ensure that the redundant railway lines known as the Burscough Curves are protected from development which would prevent them from being re-installed in the future. Their re-opening would improve rail links between Ormskirk and Southport and between Preston and Southport. The County Council carried out a pre-feasibility study into the possibility of re-opening the Curves in 1995. Unfortunately it was not considered feasible to pursue re-opening the Curves in the short term but the County Council has resolved to retain their protection within the Lancashire Structure Plan and review the situation in the future. The reinstatement of the Burscough Curves is identified as a key action point within the Community Strategy Action Plan. The potential for improvement and expansion of the Burscough Junction Station to facilitate increased passenger use in line with the aims of Joint Structure Plan Policy 10 will be kept under review.


Developers will be encouraged to provide facilities such as turning areas etc, as an integral part of developments. The Council will support increased provision of bus shelters and additional provision for the elderly /handicapped through community bus services (dial-a-ride), the use of low step buses and the development of further Quality Bus Routes through the District and from cross boundary linkages to surrounding areas. Where bus operators propose new or improved facilities, the Council will give careful consideration to the environmental benefits which could accrue from enhanced facilities or services, subject to other policies in the Plan.


The use of rail transport is to be encouraged as an alternative form of transport but the availability of car parking at railway stations in the District is generally poor. Improvements have been carried out at a number of stations to extend availability of car parking but other stations, especially in rural areas, have little or no car parking. The problem of security at rural stations is a major concern, but provision of parking could considerably increase use of such services. At Appley Bridge Station, there is a particular parking problem, and the District and County Councils, in conjunction with the Community Rail Partnership, are considering ways of providing additional parking facilities at this station. Improvement of the District's rail stations is a key action point within the Community Strategy.


Cycle parking at railway stations can provide further scope for utilisation of alternative modes of transport which are more environmentally friendly than the car.


The present railway station at Pimbo Lane, Up Holland, is under-used, being remote from the main centres of population at Skelmersdale and Up Holland and not connected to a frequent bus service. The possibility of providing facilities for bus services to connect with the railway station and a park and ride facility are to be investigated to improve the use of the station. Consultants have recently been undertaking a study of the possibility of linking Skelmersdale more fully into the rail system, and it is likely that the best options for doing this would be via a new rail station at Pimbo, and possibly a new rail link into the Town centre itself. Much further feasibility work is required and future revisions of this Plan will need to consider this matter further. In the meantime the Council will resist developments which could prejudice this link.


To further improve rail travel, it is proposed to conduct an appraisal of the extension of the electrified Merseyrail line from Kirkby to Wigan (via Up Holland). This will enable residents of the Skelmersdale/Up Holland area to have increased service provision and easy access to Merseyside and Wigan. Electrification of the rail line from Ormskirk to Burscough Bridge will enable residents in the Burscough area to have easy access to Merseyside and will particularly benefit commuters and make access to the area's shopping centre in Ormskirk much easier. Any alteration to the rail network will require approval of the rail regulator and/or Office of Passenger Rail Franchising.The Council will support any appraisal which will examine the possible options for rail freight on rail lines.


It is proposed to seek the provision of a rail halt at Mill Dam Lane, Burscough, so as to widen further the catchment areas of rail users.


Improved facilities to enhance the station environment at Burscough Bridge, including a new station building are proposed by the Community Rail Partnership. The Council will support and press for early implementation of this scheme.

Background Documents for Policy SC7

Planning Policy Guidance Note 13 Transport

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy UR3 Promoting Social Inclusion through Urban Accessibility and Mobility
  • Policy T2 The Regional Rail Network
  • Policy T7 Fright Transport 

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 10 Rail and Bus Improvements 
Sub Regional

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 200 3 - 2006

  • Getting Around 

POLICY SC8 - Land at the Railway Pad, Appley Bridge View Map of this site ?

Land at the railway pad, Appley Bridge will be safeguarded for small-scale rail based facilities that would not cause harm to the local highway network due to HGV movements. Development which would prejudice such future uses will not be permitted unless there has been a conclusive demonstration that such uses are not viable.


Justification of Policy SC8

The policy seeks to ensure the safeguarding of potential rail freight use in line with the aims of the Joint Structure Plan Policy 11. However, in the light of local highway limitations the scope for a large-scale road /rail interchange facility is limited and would be resisted on environmental grounds. Other development of the site would not be considered favourably unless there has been a clear demonstration that rail use for freight purposes would not be viable.

Background Documents for Policy SC8

Planning Policy Guidance Note 13 Transport

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy T7 Fright Transport 

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 11 Freight Distribution 
Sub Regional
Lancashire Local Transport Plan
Sub Regional

POLICY SC9 - Cycling and Walking Facilities View Map of this site ?

The proportion of journeys made by cycling and walking will be increased, by requiring new developments to incorporate appropriate facilities for cyclists and pedestrians within the development, and appropriate links to the development.

Development will not be permitted which would harm the current cycleway or pedestrian route network or prejudice the future provision of the following:-

  1. Ormskirk - Skelmersdale Cycle Route (identified on Proposals Map) as part of the Linear Park Proposal;
  2. Other future cycle routes required to complete the network in West Lancashire, which are identified through the West Lancashire Cycling Strategy and Network Plan;
  3. The Trans Pennine Trail along the Cheshire Lines; and
  4. The Lancashire Coastal Path including a bridge across the River Douglas.

Justification of Policy SC9

The improvement of cycling and pedestrian facilities is the focus of several action points in West Lancashire's Community Strategy.


The District Council has produced a Cycling Strategy and Network Plan which seeks to provide an integrated cycle network and improved cycle facilities across the area. The Network Plan shows a network of on-road and off-road routes linking the main urban areas within, and on the edge of, the District.


One of the main proposals is for an cycle route linking Ormskirk and Skelmersdale. This is identified in the Lancashire Local Transport Plan as a scheme to be brought forward by the County Council. Further feasibility work is being undertaken by the County Council, and it is likely that a cycle route will form part of a linear park linking the two towns as proposed within Policy SC3 of this Plan. The cycle route will largely make use of the former trackbed of the Ormskirk to Skelmersdale rail line, although an alternative will need to be found around the village of Westhead, where the former trackbed has been developed for housing. Links will be required to the new Ormskirk School and Ormskirk Hospital. This proposal is one of the major action points set out in the Community Strategy.


The District Council will work in partnership with Lancashire County Council to implement the Cycling Strategy throughout the District. A major study is being undertaken of the cycle network in Skelmersdale and the Cycling Strategy will be continually monitored and updated to take account of newly identified routes and opportunities for enhancing the network.


The National Cycle Route 62 runs through part of West Lancashire, and the Cheshire Lines path forms both part of this network and the Trans Pennine Trail. The route between Southport and Preston has yet to be fixed, although the County Council is exploring the possibility of jointly developing it with the creation of a Lancashire Coastal path. This may involve a bridge being rebuilt over the River Douglas at Hesketh Bank, on the site of the former railway bridge.


High standard direct pedestrian routes within development and links to nearby centres, schools etc. are vital if people are to be encouraged to walk to work rather than use the car. Design of such routes will need to take account of community safety issues. The Council will support schemes that create and improve cycling and walking links within the District, particularly those that improve accessibility between settlements. Links that would improve accessibility to key facilities around the District and to routes and facilities in adjoining areas will also be supported.

Background Documents for Policy SC9

Planning Policy Guidance Note 13 Transport

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy UR3 Promoting Social Inclusion through Urban Accessibility and Mobility
  • Policy T8 The National Cycle Network
  • Policy T10 Regional Priorities for Transport Investment and Management 

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 10 Rail and Bus Improvements 
Sub Regional
Lancashire Local Transport Plan
Sub Regional

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • Getting Around 
West Lancashire Cycling Strategy & Network Plan

POLICY SC10 - Infrastructure, Services and Utilities View Map of this site ?

Without prejudice to other planning considerations, development by a public service company or statutory undertaker in the open countryside will be permitted, where it can be shown that it is essential in order to maintain and/or improve an existing service or undertaking. Utility and service operators will be expected to ensure that plant and buildings are sited and designed to minimise their visual impact and obtrusiveness in the landscape. Developments will be required to implement high quality landscaping schemes to mitigate any impacts on the local area.

Development will not be permitted unless adequate services and utilities exist, or will be made available, in time to serve the development proposed.

New developments must be served by separate foul and surface water sewerage systems.The use of septic tanks and private sewage treatment works will only be permitted if connection to the mains sewerage system is not feasible. Septic tanks will only be allowed if ground conditions are satisfactory and the plot of land is of sufficient size to provide an adequate subsoil drainage system.

Development should be limited to locations where adequate water resources exist or can be provided without adversely affecting water quality, fisheries, amenity, nature conservation or existing abstraction rates.This will be established through liaison with the Environment Agency and United Utilities.


Justification of Policy SC10

The Council must balance the need for service infrastructure with the need to conserve the environment. It should be made clear that the District Council is not always the determining authority for infrastructure, services or utility proposals and that the provision of many services does not require planning permission. However, for those proposals which do require planning permission from the District Council, operators will be required to ensure that plant and buildings are carefully sited and designed and screened by landscaping as advised in Circular 3/99. For the purposes of this policy, a public service company is a company providing premises with water, gas, electricity, or sewage disposal. The Council will seek to avoid or minimise their visual impact and the effects of proliferation. The Council will also ensure that the need for public safety is fully addressed.


It is essential that adequate infrastructure covering electricity, gas, water supply, foul and surface water drainage and telecommunications is provided in a co-ordinated manner and is made available concurrently with development taking place. The Council will therefore endeavour to ensure, through close consultation with the utility operators at an early stage in the development process, that these services are provided at the appropriate time in order to facilitate planned development.


Private sewage plants require frequent maintenance in order to produce effluents which meet Environment Agency standards, and maintenance problems often arise where plants are in multiple ownership. Inadequate maintenance can result in pollution of watercourses. New development should therefore be served by existing or new foul sewerage systems and sewerage treatment plants, rather than by a proliferation of individual septic tanks or small private treatment works within sewered areas.

Background Documents for Policy SC10

Circular 3/99 - Planning requirements in respect of the use of non-mains sewerage incorporating septic tanks in new development

POLICY SC11 - Telecommunications View Map of this site ?

Applications for telecommunications apparatus will be permitted provided that:-

  1. development in the open countryside respects the countryside character of that area;
  2. It does not have an unacceptable impact on the character, setting or appearance of a Conservation Area, Listed Building, historic park or garden, archaeological site or Scheduled Ancient Monument, or on the setting of a settlement;
  3. the apparatus is sited so that its environmental and visual impact is minimised to an acceptable level and, where appropriate, the landform, buildings, established trees and opportunities for new woodland planting ensure that views are masked or broken up;
  4. in the case of new free standing masts, towers or other equipment, the applicant has demonstrated that it is not possible to share existing masts and towers or to group mounted apparatus to minimise visual clutter;
  5. wall-mounted dishes and apparatus are placed in the least obtrusive position possible, taking into account the architectural details of the building and its neighbouring buildings and the street scene;
  6. dishes and antennae are not placed above the highest part of the roof or on chimneys unless they would cause no significant environmental or visual impact;
  7. apparatus, mountings and ancillary structures are coloured in a durable finish appropriate to the background against which they will usually be seen;
  8. apparatus, mountings and ancillary structures installed on domestic property are of an appropriate scale; and
  9. International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection guidelines are met.

Where development is proposed in the Green Belt, it is likely to be inappropriate unless openness is maintained. In the case of inappropriate development, the applicant will be expected to demonstrate that very special circumstances exist, and that there are no suitable alternative sites in a on-Green Belt location.


Justification of Policy SC11

Government advice (PPG8) asks local planning authorities to take account of the strategic requirements of telecommunications networks and to recognise their special needs in preparing development plans.


This policy is intended to provide guidelines for both commercial and domestic situations in a way that is sufficiently flexible to accommodate the rapid pace of technological change in this particular field.The Council acknowledges that modern telecommunications apparatus facilitates new choices in matters such as banking and working from home; established and new systems contribute in some part to cutting down the need to travel and thus should not be seen as inherently hostile to the environment.


The General Development Order provides opportunities to erect many facilities without reference to the Council. Where consent is required, the Council will insist on the best possible arrangements to minimise the apparatus' visual impact. In the case of masts and towers, the developer will need to demonstrate that sharing and other solutions have been fully explored. For other apparatus, preference will be given to dishes and antennae sited on the ground where they can be screened, rather than being mounted on a building or structure.


Installations close to houses should so far as practicable be out of direct public view, out of the line of sight from principal windows and positioned or treated as to avoid nuisance from glare.


Special issues arise in relation to Conservation Areas, Listed Buildings, historic parks and gardens, archaeological sites, Scheduled Ancient Monuments, and their settings. Listed Building Consent will also normally be required for any apparatus on or within the curtilage of a Listed Building.


A group of independent experts led by Sir William Stewart has investigated possible health effects posed by mobile phone technology. Their report concluded that "the balance of evidence indicates that there is no general risk to the health of people living near base stations, on the basis that exposures are expected to be small fractions of guidelines". However gaps in scientific knowledge led the Stewart Group to recommend a precautionary approach to the use of mobile phones and base stations until more research findings become available. They added that in some cases, peoples' well-being may be adversely affected by insensitive siting of base stations. In keeping with the recommendations of the Stewart Report and the Government’s response to it, developers will be expected to confirm that any proposal meets the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection guidelines. Although the exposure from base stations will be many times lower than from using a mobile phone, the Stewart Group acknowledged that there was some public concern about base stations located on or near schools. Operators are advised to provide information about patterns of radio wave emissions if a school or parents are concerned about the possibility that a zone of concentration of waves may include a school.


Operators are also reminded of the guidance in paragraph 62 of the Appendix to PPG8 hat when they intend to submit an application for planning permission or prior approval for mobile phone base station development, either in or near to a school or college, they are expected to discuss the proposed development with the relevant school of college before submitting any application to the local planning authority and to confirm that they have done so. The absence of such confirmation may be considered as sufficient reason to register the application as invalid. For its part the Council notes the reciprocal, but separate, expectation placed on local planning authorities by paragraph 63, and confirms that on receipt of such an application for mobile phone base station development it will consult the relevant controlling persons and/or bodies and will take into account any relevant views expressed within the specified timescales.

Background Documents for Policy SC11

Planning Policy Guidance Note 8 Telecommunications

POLICY SC12 - Renewable Energy View Map of this site ?

Proposals for renewable energy generation will be approved provided that they do not have an adverse impact on the character and value of the landscape and on areas of natural and built heritage, including their settings, and meet the other policies set out in this Plan.


Justification of Policy SC12 

The Government's policy is to stimulate the development of new and renewable energy sources wherever they have prospects of being economically attractive and environmentally acceptable in order to contribute to:-

  • diverse, secure and sustainable energy supplies;
  • reduction in the emission of pollutants;
  • encouragement of internationally competitive industries.

(Ref: "Our Energy Future – Creating a Low Carbon Economy" (February 2003).) 


The Government’s target is to see 10% of UK electricity requirements generated from renewable sources of energy by 2010. Also the 2003 White Paper “Our Energy Future – Creating a Low Carbon Economy” sets out the aspiration to double that figure to 20% by 2020, and suggests that still more renewable energy will be needed beyond that date. A diverse range of renewable energy technologies have a key role to play in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and in helping to tackle climate change, whilst also offering a range of potential economic and employment benefits. The GONW/NWRA scoping report “From Power to Prosperity” (2001) sets the scene for the potential renewable energy resources that are most likely to be developed in Lancashire. Lancashire County Council is producing additional guidance in the form of an SPD to accord with JLSP Policy 25 and its associated target 25.1. This aims: “to increase the existing capacity for onshore renewable energy electrical generation in Lancashire from 47MW (Nov 2002) to a minimum of 116MW capacity by 2010, with an interim target of 95MW by 2007.” Achievement of these targets will be a material consideration to be accorded significant weight in considering proposals for, or including, renewable energy generation.


The Government has published a Planning Policy Statement on renewable energy (PPS22), together with a companion guide, which includes a technical annex and a range of good practice guidance on planning and renewable energy.


The Council acknowledges that new and renewable energy sources can contribute to energy needs in a significant and sustainable way. Renewable energy sources offer the hope of increasing diversity and security of supply, and of reducing harmful emissions to the environment. Renewable energy technologies are developing all the time and some types which may not appear commercially viable at present are likely to come forward in the future. Such technologies may include solar and wood fuel. Whilst the environmental effects of such developments would have to be considered in full, this Council will, in principle, encourage proposals which seek to reduce global warming and our dependence on finite fossil fuels.


Wind turbines can have an impact on the environment, primarily in visual terms, but also through disturbance to flora and fauna. Therefore, whilst this Council supports the development of renewable energy, proposals for individual or multiple wind turbine development will be considered very carefully. The Council will aim to ensure that any impact on the landscape and /or nature conservation is minimised. Where the impacts of the development are likely to be significant, an Environmental Statement will be required under the Town and Country Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988. (Wind energy is now included within Schedule 2 of these regulations.)

Background Documents for Policy SC12

Planning Policy Statement 22 Renewable Energy

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy ER13 

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 25 Wind energy 
Sub Regional

POLICY SC13 - Cemeteries and Crematoria View Map of this site ?

Proposals for cemeteries and crematoria will be permitted provided that:-

  1. the site is easily accessible by car and public transport;
  2. the development would not adversely affect the landscape character;
  3. there would be no adverse impact on areas of ecological, natural history or archaeological interest;
  4. the impact on agricultural activities is minimised;
  5. there would be no adverse effect on the amenities enjoyed by local residents;
  6. any buildings should have minimal visual impact and should harmonise with their surroundings;
  7. the design of the cemetery includes substantial tree planting proposals including the creation of wildlife habitats where appropriate;
  8. the site is adequately screened or can be screened by new tree planting from the surrounding area;
  9. the water table will not be at or above the base of excavation; and
  10. the local highway network is capable of accommodating the traffic generated.

Justification of Policy SC13

There is an identified need for a new cemetery to serve the long-term needs of the Ormskirk /Skelmersdale area. Although Sefton’s crematorium is located in West Lancashire, it is not in a convenient location for the majority of the District’s population; therefore a more centrally located facility would be beneficial. However, careful consideration needs to be given to the precise location of cemeteries and crematoria and therefore any proposals must comply with the above policy.

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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.