Harbour Village residents protest against plans

Residents from Fleetwood's Harbour Village estate say the planned fish park will impact negatively on their main street
Residents from Fleetwood's Harbour Village estate say the planned fish park will impact negatively on their main street

Residents on a Fleetwood waterfront estate are up in arms about the town’s proposed £20m fish park.

The householders at the “idyllic” Harbour Village development say they didn’t realise just how close the fish park would be to the estate until a resident put a shock leaflet through letterboxes last week.

There is only one road in and one road out on this estate. If anything happens at the gate of this fish park, like a hold up or an accident, we are all penned in, with no other road out

They claim they were not properly consulted about the fact that the entrance to the fish park will be right at the top of their street.

They are worried about how the industrial traffic will impact on Windward Avenue and possible issues of noise.

Since receiving the leaflet, angry residents have bombarded Wyre’s online planning section with objections and also plan to mount a late petition in a bid to try and get the entrance to the fish park re-sited.

However, planning authority Wyre Council insists it has done all that is required to inform residents close to the entrance about the plans.

And developer Reform Energy, the company developing the fish park and the neighbouring energy plant which will power it, argues that it hosted a public event at the nearby Three Lights pub in May to allow people to see its plans and ask questions.

The fish park plans are to be determined by councillors rather than planning officers - possibly in a couple of months.

Elaine Littler, 50, of Windward Avenue, said: “There is a lot of anger because we feel we should have been sent letters directly informing us of the plans and seeking our views. But no one has bothered to tell us about this. It’s disgusting.”

The fish park has largely been welcomed in Fleetwood as a means of boosting the town’s important fish selling and processing sector, already one of the town’s main employers.

It is hoped the facility, which will see fish merchants re-locating from their current cramped premises on the docks and Siding Road, will create even more new jobs.

The Harbour Village housing estate, bordered by the River Wyre and a nature reserve, currently comprises 250 new private homes built in a joint enterprise by both Persimmon Homes and Redrow Homes, with another 130 properties still to be completed.

The fish park and power plant are to be located north west of the estate, towards Amounderness Way.

The leaflet, sent by a resident, began with the words: “Did you know there is a planning application for an industrial park, accessed off Windward Avenue?”

Many of the residents didn’t know about the access on their road and did not see a planning notice fixed to a lamp post just outside the estate.

Around twenty residents held a meeting to discuss the issue and plot their next move.

Sue Chester, of Windward Avenue said: “There is only one road in and one road out on this estate. If anything happens at the gate of this fish park, like a hold up or an accident, we are all penned in, with no other road out. What if ambulance or fire engine can’t get through?.”

Steven Littler said: “I don’t think any of us here is opposed to the fish park itself, but to have the access right at the end of our street is just ridiculous.

“If this leaflet had not come through the post, none of us would have known about this until they started building the thing. I feel the council and the developers have done the very minimal consultation that they can get away with so we wouldn’t make a fuss.”

Lauren Parkinson, another Windward Avenue resident, said: “There are a lot of families with children here. My 12 year old daughter has to walk down the end of the street and cross Amounderness Way just to get to school.

“Now she will have to deal with industrial traffic like lorries and transit vans flying in and out.”

Some residents fear the development could change the estate.

Simon Fenton, of Voyager Close, said: “We already live close to the sewage plant and the refuse tip but they were already there when this estate was built. Now we’re getting this power plant and the fish park, How do we know the plant wont give off odours or noises.”

Julie Kirby, of Windward Avenue, said: “This estate is idyllic but when we bought our house we didn’t expect this, it’s come as a shock to a lot of people on this estate. Even on the planning application on the website you wouldn’t realise how close the estate is because you can’t even see the estate on the plan.”

Many of the resident said they were not aware of the public meeting at the Three Lights pub.

Fleetwood councillor Ruth Duffy, who has been dealing with the residents, said: “I can understand their concerns.

“The fish park will impact on their road and their estate yet they feel they haven’t been told directly what is going to happen.

“It now looks like it will be dealt with by councillors and people will be able to have more of say.”

A Wyre Council spokeswoman said: “The council has written to properties close to the site and publicised the application in the local press and via site notices in order to advise the wider area, which is in accordance with legal requirements.

“People can comment on, object to or support a planning application online at wyre.gov.uk/planning”

And Chris Nelson, communications manager for Reform Energy responded: “Reform Energy consulted with the local community at an early opportunity on plans for a new Fleetwood Fish Park, and the consultation event at the Three Lights pub restaurant was widely publicised.