Residents' bid to halt homes plan on their doorstep

The Hollins Cross Farm site that is a possible location for new homes to be built
The Hollins Cross Farm site that is a possible location for new homes to be built

Angry residents have mounted a protest campaign against plans to build 400 homes plus on their doorstep.

And they are claiming that if the green light is given to move the urban boundary to allow the development to go ahead at the site known as Hollins Cross Farm, it will be catastrophic for the entire borough.

They have submitted a 40 page Opposition Document to Burnley Borough Council crammed with reasons why the site is not fit or suitable for development.

Mr Martyn Bell, a spokesman for the residents of Coal Clough and Deerplay wards, said: “All aspects of the document have been thoroughly researched and all statements supported by factually based evidence.

“We have asked the council to reply to over 40 requests and we would like to know what surveys have been carried out for the site to be considered as suitable for a construction site.”

The main objections include the fact that the Hollins Cross Farm is a designated area of natural beauty and is a haven for wildlife including protected species of bats and a variety of birds, badgers, foxes and rabbits.

Protestors are also arguing that the site is designated by the Coal Authority as a high risk development area due to the shallow mine workings.

Mr Bell added: “The authority states that the area should not be built on or developed and the upshot of ignoring this will endanger present local housing by the disturbance of these mine workings.”

Protestors also claim that the site works as a natural free flood defence as huge amounts of rainfall is trapped by soaking into the site. If it is allowed to become free flowing from the hillside drainage systems will be overwhelmed and Burnley centre would become flooded.

Residents are also worried that the infrastructure of the borough would not take the pressure of at least 2,700 homes which would equate to 11,000 more people.

Mr Bell said: “No plans have been passed to build extra schools for the 5,500 children these new homes will bring along with no planned GP or dentist surgeries and no new A and E or hospital services.

Former Burnley and Padiham MP Gordon Birtwistle is backing the campaign along with the Burnley Wildlife Conservation Forum which is objecting on the grounds that the site is in active agricultural production and has many key protected species living there. Residents are calling for Burnley Council to look at developing the large areas of brownfield sites which could be used for building sustainable housing for local residents to gain a foothold on the property ladder.

They claim that hundreds of rows of empty terraced houses are available to be refurbished and under a compulsory purchase scheme two properties could be converted to one, giving decent sized homes for young families to provide low cost housing, create employment and training schemes for tradesmen.

A spokesman for Burnley Council said: ”The council has received hundreds of responses. They raise relevant planning concerns and all comments made will be fully and properly considered before the final draft of the Plan is prepared in December.

“This will be published over a six-week period starting in January. These final representations will then be considered by an independent inspector appointed by the Secretary of State who will conduct an “examination’ of the Plan to consider whether it is ‘sound’ and legally compliant.”

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