Residents objecting to a massive housing development say Pendle Council is being influenced and using the plan as an easy fix to comply with Government wishes.
Objector Paul Henderson says Peel Investment’s proposal for 500 homes in Barrowford provide a “quick win” and removes some of the pain for councillors and planners in achieving central government objectives.
Previous concerns, objections and queries from residents have fallen on deaf earsPaul Henderson
“The council’s ability to judge objectively and with rationale has been clouded by developer involvement and influence,” said Mr Henderson.
Peel Investments registered its intention on July 13th to build on land its owns at Trough Laithe. Anyone objecting was given 21 days to submit their views. Residents are furious how little time they have been given to put their views, because the legal consultation period began during the local holidays.
Mr Henderson said there is clear evidence to prove there is little demand for the size and type of development now on the cards.
“Pendle Council should be promoting smaller, sustainable, community building of houses on brownfield land,” he said.
“Over the past 30-odd years Barrowford has seen around 350 new build houses, which averages to 35 per year. Peel proposes to construct 500 over a 10 year period. Given past build rates, this proves a distinct lack of demand for house building on this scale.”
Mr Henderson and fellow objectors also say large-scale housing would ruin a striking view of Pendle countryside for people living and working in Nelson and Colne and for tourists attracted to the area.
The housing site abuts other land owned by Peel Investments, part of which has been developed.
In 1993 the firm went to appeal for planning permission to build a business park off the bypass, across the river from Nelson and Colne College. Since then it has renewed and re-renewed its permission. The latest, approved in May, will last five years.
Said Mr Henderson: “Given the capitulation of Pendle Council over the past 10 and more years with Trough Laithe, there is a suggestion the council is no longer in a position to remain impartial and maintain an objective approach to this latest application from Peel Holdings.
“Previous concerns, objections and queries from residents have fallen on deaf ears and this is clarified in the evidence as submitted and responded to during the consultation period for the renewal of the local development plan.
“The timing of this planning application from Peel is disgraceful, as it is at a time when most of Pendle’s residents are on annual leave with their children.”
The decision whether or not to grant planning permission will be made by six councillors on the Barrowford and Western Parishes Committee of Pendle Council. No date has been set, but the decision will probably be taken at the October meeting.
Committee chairman Coun. Linda Crossley: “It is a massive development and a lot of people have complained about the consultation time. It is very important and needs looking at very, very seriously.”