Government slammed after local decision to block houses on green land over-ruled

The land in question
The land in question

Pendle Council could be facing a huge bill after a government planning inspector ruled in favour of developers who had seen their application to build new houses on green land refused.

The developers, Skipton-based WBW Surveyors Ltd, saw their application to build 10 houses on a field off Kelbrook Road in Barnoldswick, near to West Craven High School, rejected by the council’s planning committee, despite being recommended for approval by officers and advice that costs could be awarded against the council as a result.

Local councillors have now slammed the inspector’s decision and accused the Government of riding roughshod over local people’s opinions, and damaging local democracy in the process.

In reaching a decision on the appeal, the planning inspector stated that: “On the basis of the material before me, I consider that the council prevented development that should have clearly been permitted.”

The decision was met with a furious response from Barnoldswick Liberal Democrat Coun. David Whipp who said the Government had made it easier for developers to build on green land.

He said: “It’s a great shame that a government planning inspector has approved this greenfield site for development.

“Building here will erode the green wedge between Barnoldswick and Salterforth leading to the two distinct communities merging in time.

“Government planning policies and processes are increasingly skewed against protecting our green spaces.

“This is the latest example of the Government’s drive for over 500 more houses in Barnoldswick riding roughshod over local opinion.

“Regrettably, it’s unlikely to be the last.”

Ian Swain, principal planner at WBW Surveyors, said: “The development proposal was in accordance with planning policies and should have been permitted.

“Indeed, the council’s planning officer recommended the application for approval, but disappointingly the recommendation was not accepted by the planning committee and an appeal was necessary to prove the case.

“However, we are delighted to have been able to secure the consent and to get an award that obliges the council to pay our client’s unnecessary costs.”