The Government’s National Planning Policy Framework sets out plans to address the housing crisis by significantly boosting the supply of new homes across the country. This is particularly important in the North because of the Government's commitment to “level up” the northern economy and reduce the North/South divide.
The West Lancashire Local Plan is not delivering on the need for new homes. Since the introduction of the Council's Local Plan in 2012/13, there has been a shortfall of almost 300 homes. This housing shortfall is likely to get worse in the next few years too.
In part, the Plan is not delivering because the land identified for development is in areas of low market demand. For example, the current Plan sets out to build 140 new homes in Skelmersdale every year but, to date, an average of just 37 new homes have been delivered each year.
New family and affordable homes are required to ensure that there is a labour force which can drive economic growth. Current delivery is constraining local growth and houses in West Lancashire are becoming increasingly unaffordable. The consequences of this shortfall mean younger people and working-age families are unable to meet their housing needs. It also leads to an unbalanced local population, which is becoming increasing aged.
Ormskirk and Aughton have a limited housing supply, with the local delivery of new homes concentrated in Burscough and Skelmersdale.
There is a strong need for more housing development in Ormskirk and Aughton. In particular, to address the following needs:
A lack of new homes will continue to drive house prices even higher due to the constrained supply. People in lower-paid jobs – including key workers (e.g. nurses, teachers, etc) – may need to live elsewhere and commute into the area for work due to the lack of affordable and suitable housing.
The housing shortage and worsening affordability will hold back economic opportunities, such as the future growth of Edge Hill University. New homes are needed so that people taking new jobs can live within a reasonable distance of their work. This is essential to reduce congestion on local roads and transport networks.
West Lancashire Borough Council is in the process of reviewing it’s local plan. A ‘Preferred Options’ document was published in August 2018 that included 500 homes at Little Moor Hall Gardens as part of a wider development to the South East of Ormskirk and Aughton. Whilst the Council is now revising the Preferred Options this draft allocation indicates that the site is considered a suitable one for development in the future.
David Wilson Homes would like to to extend an open invitation to anybody interested in both the site and the local plan review to engage with proposals for the site as the local plan process continues.