• Mary Breakell

Newsbrief 89 5 November 2021 By Election University and Scotforth Rural Ward

LANCASTER CITY COUNCIL - UNIVERSITY AND SCOTFORTH RURAL WARD

BY-ELECTION 11TH NOVEMBER 2021

WORRIED ABOUT THE SOUTH LANCASTER CATALYST PROJECT (BAILRIGG GARDEN VILLAGE)?

AS RESIDENTS OF SCOTFORTH RURAL WARD YOU’LL KNOW THAT THE CITY COUNCIL HAS APPROVED AN INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT WHICH WILL LEAD TO A HUGE AREA OF HOUSING BETWEEN THE A6 AND A588 COCKERHAM ROAD, FROM ASHFORD ROAD IN SOUTH LANCASTER TO GALGATE. OVER 9,000 HOMES ARE PLANNED, EQUIVALENT IN POPULATION TO A NEW TOWN THE SIZE OF KENDAL. WE KNOW THAT RESIDENTS ARE EXTREMELY CONCERNED ABOUT THE IMPACT THE GARDEN VILLAGE WILL HAVE ON SO MANY ASPECTS OF LIFE IN RURAL SCOTFORTH, INCLUDING:

· New roads and increased traffic volumes. As we know, “new roads create new journeys”. Construction traffic will be a 20-year blight on our rural roads and lanes. The spinal road through the garden village out onto the main roads will lead to even worse congestion in Lancaster city centre.

· Massive increases in emissions and air pollution. And all this at a time of climate emergency with local and national government pledging to reduce carbon emissions. At a local level, residents are becoming increasingly concerned about the health risks associated with poor air quality.

· There is a gaping hole between the vision of the ‘green’ garden village and the developments likely to be built. Developers are unlikely to stump up the money to help pay for new schools, health facilities and other public services, which are already under great strain. Local residents are in line to pay for the shortfall via local taxes and potential cuts to services.

· Increased flood risk. Housing projects of this size and new road schemes will inevitably affect the run-off of rainwater and the proposed drainage systems are unlikely to cope, leading to flooding (again) in the area in and around Galgate.



· Threats to the natural environment - wildlife, woodlands, green fields - and to historical sites.

Although the City Council and County Council have voted to accept government housing infrastructure money to begin work, there are still opportunities for the public to register opposition to the development and influence decisions on how future plans are progressed.

CLOUD asked the four candidates in the forthcoming by-election for their views on the garden village development and related infrastructure. Here are their responses, in alphabetical order by party:

Matthew Maxwell-Scott (Conservative Party)

“As chairman of the Lancashire County Council Development Control Committee, to which applications as part of this scheme may come, I cannot offer any comment as this could be seen as predetermination. However, I welcome hearing residents’ views.”

Jamie Payne (Green Party)

The Green Party take action to combat the climate emergency, we don’t just offer words and token gestures. Therefore, we totally oppose the South Lancaster Development. Enabling the building of a massive 9000 new houses with new road links to a reconfigured motorway junction is incompatible with any commitment to achieve carbon neutrality and tackle the climate emergency. As a city councillor for the University and Scotforth Rural ward, I would continue to oppose and resist the South Lancaster Development on the grounds of the damage it will cause to the environment.

Fabiha Askari (Labour Party)

I believe there has to be more consultation, with packs similar to the recent County Council gyratory consultation posted to residents to ensure everyone has access to the facts and to prevent misinformation. The environmental impact of BGV is by far the most significant concern I have and I will approach any discussion of the project with a critical eye. I want to avoid uncontrolled and unplanned housebuilding in South Lancaster which lack services and are car dependent. The only option on the table to avoid this is BGV as the land in South Lancaster has already been allocated for housebuilding in the Local Plan (which was passed with votes from all parties on the City Council). I’d use my voice to ensure brownfield sites (like the Canal Quarter) are prioritised and would also, ideally, use my influence as a City Councillor to ensure any new houses built should be built to the highest environmental standards – preferably to Passivhaus status.

Turning to congestion and pollution more broadly. The recent roadworks have not helped matters, but this traffic demonstrates why Lancaster seriously needs investment to promote public transport and active transport. The money the City Council has agreed to collect from developers will provide funding for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system for Lancaster, alongside money for a Cycle Superhighway – both of which will reduce congestion and improve traffic. Likewise, the construction of the Galgate bypass dramatically improves air quality in the village and means people are not opening their front doors directly onto an A-road!

Zanna Ashton (Liberal Democrats)

(No statement received at the time of publication)

PLEASE USE YOUR VOTE WISELY


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