Plans for Leyland’s Runshaw College to build a state-of-the-art theatre have been passed by South Ribble Council’s planning committee, despite objections from residents.
One member of the committee spoke out against the ambitious proposals, which will see a single-storey building demolished to make way for a two-storey build to accommodate a theatre and specialist facilities for music, dance and drama.
Coun Mary Green voted to reject the plans last week, saying that neighbours on Langdale Road are worried about loss of privacy, but other members of the committee said the facility would compliment the rest of the sixth-form college and be a welcome addition to the community.
The architect who has designed the theatre said at the Civic Centre: “I have tried to keep the scale of the development within reasonable limits.
“I have also worked hard to keep the height in line with recent developments at the college, and to address concerns from residents about overshadowing and privacy.”
Sitting on the committee, Coun Jim Marsh said: “Runshaw is a magnificent place and this vibrant, professional unit should be supported.
“The so-called neighbours are on the other side of the road, so how they can complain, I don’t know.”
The council has received two letters of representation from residents.
Now, deputy principal of the college, Simon Partington, who takes over as principal in September, has said the scheme is more about modernising the performing arts facilities, rather than just the growth of the campus.
He said: “It is a really interesting time at Runshaw and during the years I’ve been here, the front of the campus has been transformed with the library, student services and restaurant all being developed from one-storey to two-storey builds.
“The one remaining building is old fashioned now, and we started to think about what we might want it to become.
“Most people agreed a bigger theatre would really benefit the college, because the current one is tired and too small for a college of Runshaw’s size.
“We believe the quality of our productions deserves a bigger audience.
“Neighbours may be worried about the growth, but it’s really about refreshing and modernising the facilities here; we can’t afford to stand still.
“The whole purpose of a college is to give students the best possible facilities and experience.”
The construction of the new building will be dependent on securing funding from the Skills Funding Agency and some private sector sponsorship.
But if all goes well, Mr Partington said work could begin in around 12 months, with a view to the theatre being completed by the summer of 2015.
Planning permission was granted with a vote of 10 to one.
There were conditions that the arts centre should not be open to the public until 6.30pm during term time, to prevent traffic congestion.
24th March 2013
Following requests from parents of children attending Trinity Buckshaw and from users of facilities near to the school, County Cllr Mark Perks asked officers from Lancashire County Council to look at the road safety issues posed by cars using parking along Unity Place and Village Way at the start and end of the school day.
Following several site visits with officers Cllr Mark Perks persuaded highway officers to produce a road safety scheme that would be enforceable by law and hopefully resolve some of the issues:-
- vehicles blocking the pedestrian access points to the lowered kerb to allow crossing points for prams, bikes and wheelchairs
- the blocking of school gates
- double parking
- the parking of vehicles on the T junction with Village Way.
A scheme has now been drawn up and given the backing of the developers Redrow and Barratt Homes as the highway is un-adopted and under their ownership.
Cllr Perks has kindly provided the attached plan of the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) on Unity Place and Village Way, Buckshaw Village. The legal consultation period will run from 20 March 2013 – 19 April 2013.
A consultation letter and copies of the notices are to be sent to the school and the hub, with emailed copies provided to Barratts and Redrow.
Aerospace giant BAE Systems has sold a site in Lancashire as part of a multi-million pound regeneration deal.
Bridgehouse Capital Limited has bought six facilities in Yorkshire, Bristol, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Hampshire and one in Chorley on the former ROF site in Euxton.
It is believed that more than £250m will be spent to regenerate all locations but financial details of the deal have not been released.
A spokesman for BAE Systems said: “We have entered into a development partnership with London based property firm Bridgehouse, which will see the two companies working together to deliver development plans on a number of UK sites including Chorley.
“The partnership supports BAE System’s plans to bring the 150 acre site forward for redevelopment, which will include remediation and bringing the site back to economic use.
“Plans include the creation of circa 700 houses with some commercial land, a school, play areas and woodland, generating job opportunities for the local economy.
“The aim is to enable the most efficient regeneration of the site, complimenting the successful Buckshaw Village development.”
Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle said: “First of all I am disappointed that BAE did not contact me regarding the takeover as it was in my constitutency and as I am aware the local council did not know about it.
“Even though it is good that £250m is being spent on their sites we need details of what it means for the residents.
“I want to know what they are doing to regenerate the village for people living there now and in future as well as Chorley as a whole in terms of houses and infrastructure.”
The village now sits on what used to be 928 acre site and was designated a munitions works in 1935 with building work and was opened in 1939.
Production was transferred in 1997 and decommissioning and decontamination took place between 1998 and 2007.
Lancashire Evening Post
15th March 2013
A CAMPAIGN has been launched to preserve a precious piece of Chorley’s wartime past.
A Second World War pillbox in a Whittle-le-Woods field has just undergone an archaeological survey.
More than 70 years old, the construction is right in the middle of new housing development set for the area.
Now historians, and other townsfolk, who are determined to save such memorable monuments, want to get the site listed.
The pillbox – a standard type 23 – is in the field off Lucas Lane where developer Redrow is to construct more than 130 new houses.
It seems likely it was a defence against the former Royal Ordnance Factory at Euxton which was officially opened by King George VI on March 31, 1939.
The archaeological survey has been carried out for Redrow by supervisor Aaron Goode, 38, and his colleague Scott Vance, who work for Pre-Construction Archaeology.
New Zealander Aaron said: “You’ve got your main pillbox with three apertures for light machine guns, probably, or rifles.
“There’s a blast wall in there as well – if for some reason a hand grenade gets in, you have half a chance of surviving.”
He said a square slot would have had a concrete plinth which may have had a machine gun or where the range finder stood.
He added: “It’s unusual, this one, because it’s made of brick, most are made of concrete.
“They just used what material they had at hand, they just threw them up. Most of these pillboxes, they were in a hurry to get them completed.”
Next to the pillbox is a gun placement.
Aaron added: “It was probably for a Bofors anti-aircraft gun, and four recesses, probably ammo stores and where you would have had a generator for turning the gun.”
“I think this will have been manned most of the time, especially with the ammunition factory over there. They would have been keen to protect that.”
He reckoned the construction was built about 1940.
He added: “Someone in London doing research has got some paperwork or letter of complaint from the contractor who built it who never got paid,” he said.
Asked whether he thought it deserved listed status, he said: “I don’t know, that’s not for us to say, we just record it. English Heritage do the scheduling.”
However he said: “This is one of the best pillboxes I have seen.
“Others I’ve done have been type 23 but not with the gun emplacement attached.”
Whittle-le-Woods councillor Eric Bell, said: “We used to play on it when I was a boy, we used it as a den.
“I can remember seeing Germans planes coming over when we were kids. As far as I know the Home Guard used it.
“I just think it’s something worth preserving, it’s something special.
“I don’t know if there’s any record of any other in Chorley borough.”
He said it brought back memories: “It’s like being back in the war again, isn’t it?”
Boyd Harris, of Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society, said: “As far as I’m aware, there is only one other pillbox in the Chorley area.
“It was originally part of the ROF complex at Euxton but is now on the edge of the Buckshaw development.”
Coun Dennis Edgerley, who is responsible for planning and conservation at Chorley Council, said: “As the pillbox is situated on private land, Chorley Council is currently working with the developer to look at how this historic site can be safeguarded.
“Discussions are taking place at the moment but we think it’s important that this piece of local and national history is preserved for future generations.”
A spokesman for Redrow said: “We appointed specialist archaeological consultants Hyder Consulting to assess the pillbox and gun mounting at our Lucas Lane site and during their investigations it became apparent that the structure was far more significant than first envisaged.
“In fact the county council team have commented on the unexpected extent of the structure and the excellent standard of preservation.
“Although the planning authority has said that the pillbox may be removed, we plan to retain this important historical local feature within the proposed housing development, rather than demolish it.
“And we are currently working in conjunction with the local planning authority and the Lancashire County Council Archaeological Unit to amend the detail estate layout plans accordingly.
“This will ensure the structure will be retained and visible for generations to come.”
6th March 2013
To view the proposal to erect two extensions to Trinity Buckshaw CofE/Methodist Primary, click on the image below and use Application Number 09/13/0181
As with all Section 278 agreements Lancashire County Council are in the hands of the developer with regard to timing of work.
BAE Systems intended a January start on the scheme but due to poor ground conditions on the development site itself they have delayed the S278 works until those issues are resolved and that they have a saleable site.
Lancashire County Council have been advised the developers/landowners are currently working towards an April start..
Once Lancashire County Council are confident that dates have been committed LCC will be in a position to act on the commitment but until then a degree of caution needs to be taken with this situation in case the developer’s needs should change again.