Agenda item

Fylde and Wyre Boroughs: application number. LCC/2014/0101
Construction and operation of a site for drilling up to four exploratory wells, hydraulic fracturing of the wells, testing for hydrocarbons, abandonment of the wells and restoration, including provision of access roads and improvement of accesses onto the highway, security fencing, lighting and other uses ancillary to the exploration activities, including the construction of a pipeline and a connection to the gas grid network and associated infrastructure to land west, north and east of Roseacre Wood and between Roseacre Road, Roseacre and Inskip Road, Wharles.

Agricultural land that forms part of Roseacre Hall, to the west, north and east of Roseacre Wood, and land that forms part of the defence high frequency communications service (dhfcs) site between Rosacre Road and Inskip Road, off Roseacre Road and Inskip Road, Roseacre and Wharles, Preston.


A report was presented on the amended vehicle routing and highway mitigation measures in respect of an application for the construction and operation of a site for drilling of up to four exploratory wells including hydraulic fracturing, testing and site restoration on land at Roseacre Wood, Roseacre Road near Elswick.


The Committee visited the site on the 17th and 22nd January 2018.


The purpose of the report was to assess the applicant's amended vehicle routing and highway mitigation measures and to consider the extent to which the revised proposals addressed the County Council's previous objections. It was reported that the conclusions of the Committee would be presented as evidence to the reopened public inquiry on 10 April 2018.


The report included the views of Highways England, Lancashire County Council's Highways, Treales, Roseacre and Wharles Parish Council, Kirkham Town Council, Inskip with Sowerby Parish Council, Elswick Parish Council, Greenhalgh with Thistleton Parish Council, Friends of the Earth, The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, Mark Menzies MP, Ben Wallace MP and details of 349 letters of representation received together with 199 copies of a cyclostyle letter organised by Friends of the Earth.


Prior to considering the Council's response on the revised proposals, the meeting was adjourned for 5 minutes to allow the Committee time to consider additional formal representations. These included a letter from the Chief Constable dated 24 January 2018 and the 'Update Sheet' which included the views of Fylde Borough Council, Medlar with Wesham Town Council, Newton with Clifton Parish Council, County Councillor Matthew Salter (Member for Wyre Rural Central) and details of a further 49 letters of representation received together with another 169 copies of the cyclostyle letter (copy set out at Annex A and Annex B to the Minute Book respectively).


The Development Management Officer presented a PowerPoint presentation showing a site location plan, the original access proposals (Blue route) and the revised access proposals. The Committee was also shown photographs of Dagger Road (Blue Route), Elswick Village (red and green route), Roseacre Road, Elswick (green route), Roseacre Village (Green route), Inskip Village (Red route) and an aerial photograph of the A585/B5259 Junction (red and green routes).


Several speakers including representatives from the Parish Councils of Newton with Clifton, Inskip with Sowerby, Elswick, Greenhalgh with Thistleton and Treales, Wharles & Roseacre addressed the Committee. The Chair of Roseacre Awareness Group and County Councillor Liz Oades also addressed the Committee.


The speakers reiterated the concerns set out in the committee report with regard to the narrow roads, the lack of footpaths in many areas and the safety concerns for other road users including school children, pedestrians, cyclists, horses, agricultural vehicles and other vulnerable road users. They felt that therevised transport routing strategy was unsound and unsafe and would result in an increase in large HGVs on poorly maintained unclassified roads with limited width and many bends and poor visibility.


The representatives also raised the following summarised concerns:


·  There would be a very real risk of HGVs rolling over as they negotiate the adverse camber and sharp bend on the blue route near the Hand and Dagger Public House.

·  The mitigation measures proposed to address the road safety issues associated with the 90 degree blind bend on the red route at Inskip Village were inadequate. This presented a risk to both pedestrians and oncoming vehicles.

·  The four 90 degree blind bends and congestion in Elswick Village made this route unsuitable for HGVs. Issues of highways safety would be further exacerbated when the proposed housing development at Mill Lane is built and when Lodge Lane is narrowed.

·  The current illegal activity at Elswick involving 25 HGVs demonstrates that the roads are unsuitable and that the impact of the increase in traffic, particularly HGVs, would be severe. 

·  The green route along Roseacre Road to the proposed drilling site is subject to flooding.

·  The red and green routes would add to traffic at the already dangerous A585 / Thistleton north junction.  There is the question of whether larger HGVs could safely negotiate this junction

·  Junction 3 of the M55 was never intended to take this volume of traffic – there are already constant tailbacks.

·  Roseacre would be in the confluence of all 3 routes. The proposals would have a detrimental impact on the safety of all road users, including the applicant's employees.

·  The proposals would also have a detrimental impact on tourism in the area.

·  The route through the MoD's High Frequency Communications Site could be withdrawn at any time and without notice.

·  The proposals would have a detrimental impact on the large number of livery stables in the immediate vicinity; the roads are not wide enough to accommodate a HGV and a horse.

·  The applicant's poorly-devised mitigation measures would make matters worse.


Members of the Committee thanked the representatives for their contribution. 


Officers responded to a number of questions raised by the Committee in respect of the weight of the proposed HGVs, the proposed limit on the number of HGVs that could use each particular route, the width of the proposed passing places and whether using traffic lights to control HGV usage on Dagger Road would be practicable.


Following debate and further questions to officers it was:


Resolved:  That the conclusions of the report be noted and that Officers be instructed to maintain the County Council's objection to the development by presenting evidence to the reopened public inquiry covering the issues set out in the report to the Committee.


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