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'Thornton would be stretched even more by building’
The district-wide blueprint gives a broad approach to where 45,500 homes could be built across the district until 2028.
Land will be allocated later this year providing the locations where the homes that are needed could be built.
A strategic assessment of available land in Thornton identifies a total of 15 sites as having the potential for house building. Planners believe 14 of these plots could be delivered within the timeframe with 11 classed as greenfield sites and two as previously developed land – or brownfield – while another is mixed.
In total Council planners believe the 25.17 hectares of land could accommodate 768 homes, which is more than the target in the draft LDF. Seven are classed as suitable for development now. A further seven are potentially suitable given policy constraints, such as being safeguarded land or in the green belt.
The report states: “There are still a number of housing sites in Thornton identified in the RUDP which are available and could be developed in the short-term.
“Further sites have been assessed as having housing potential in the green belt and on safeguarded land in the settlement and could begin to come forward from the medium period. The topography of the land in the settlement and narrow access roads to the north side of the villages may constrain development to the long term period of the trajectory.”
Sites suitable in the short term include that of a former tip at Thornton Road on which 67 homes of different sizes are under construction; and a plot at Close Head Lead which has outline permission and could provide the space for 55 homes.
Smaller sites, including a parcel of land at Sapgate Lane which has been earmarked for housing in the RUDP, would provide 21 homes and a former mill building at James Street has permission for conversion to 18 flats.
In the medium term, suitable sites include one for 132 homes at Thornton Road which is grazing land in more than one ownership. The site of Dole and Prospect Mills at Thornton Road could accommodate 75 homes. The mill is listed and would be suitable for conversion with new development on the land to the west. There has been some interest in developing the site.
In addition unused land on the edge of Thornton at Old Road, School Green, could provide for 72 homes.
The site has been identified as a housing site in the RUDP.
In the longer term, there are three sites all of which have policy constraints due to being in the green belt or are safeguarded land.
The largest of these are level fields at Spring Holes Lane and planners believe 60 homes could be built there despite it not sitting well with the “urban form”.
Conservative ward councillor Michael McCabe has expressed concern over an apparent lack of demand for housing in the village.
He said: “A concern is that in recent years a number of new homes that have been built have not been filled. That points to a lack of demand.
“The trouble is that Thornton is a very linear settlement and by constantly building in a linear way you are, in my opinion, breaking down communities – they become stretched.”
He also said that he was a great believer in brownfield land being built on first, and that an additional 700 homes could bring 3,000 people, when the population of the village is already about 5,000 at the moment.