Proposals to allow house building in countryside around Burnley have come under fire from Friends of the Earth.
The Burnley and District group says planners need to concentrate on providing new and improved homes that people can afford to buy, and that any new housing should have the school places and infrastructure in place before a brick is laid, or be provided alongside a development.
The group came up with its findings after looking into the Burnley Local Plan issued by the Council for consultation.
Chairman Pete Smith said: “We were unconvinced that there is a demonstrable need for large numbers of new houses over and above those already being built or for which planning consent exists.”
The Friends says areas in Burnley Wood, Daneshouse, and on land between Melrose Avenue and Airdrie Crescent could all be developed in ways to retain green spaces.
“Blocks of sealed houses still await demolition and redevelopment, and numbers of empty houses are available for sale or rent,” said Mr Smith.
“What we do need is a supply of new or improved homes that are affordable, given the high unemployment, disability and low wages in the area. Otherwise we can see no need to build on sites which are clearly unsuitable, such as Bank Hall Sports Ground or greenfield sites.”
Mr Smith said the group’s conclusion was that no new housing should be build outside the urban core until an unmet existing or demonstrably predictable demand can be shown.
The Friends, said Mr Smith, admitted there is no easy solution to the contentious issue of gypsy and traveller sites, but suggested that, although Lawrence Avenue and Marlborough Street seemed unsuitable, a different site, on the other side of Marlborough Street, might be worth considering.