Worsthorne uproar over new homes plans

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Residents in Worsthorne are in uproar over plans which they fear could see more than 300 houses built in the village.

At three public meetings on Tuesday, homeowners were given the opportunity to look at a draft report of Burnley’s Local Plan, which details possible future site allocations for housing in the town.

The Plan earmarks four areas of land in Worsthorne which if selected would mean a total of 361 houses being built in the village at the following sites – Brownside Road and Lennox Street (53 homes), Brownside Road (64), Butchers Farm (130) and Heckenhurst Reservoir (114).

Parish councillor Duncan Baldwin, who has lived in Worsthorne his entire life, said although nothing was set in stone, people in the village were not happy.

“It would have a massive impact on the village. The amount of properties they are looking at would mean they would probably need to have twice as many places at the school. The water supply, electricity supply, the drains, they’re all at full capacity now. If you make the place bigger then you’d need to improve all the facilities. The infrastructure is just not in place to accommodate more than 300 new homes.

“I do recognise that there is a need for this Local Plan and that it is not planning permission. It seems they have gone a bit over the top with Worsthorne though compared to the rest of the town and that has scared a lot of people. They view Worsthorne as an aspirational village but it won’t be a village if this happens, it will just be a big housing estate.”

Mr Baldwin said there were around 4,000 people currently living in the village meaning that if these pieces of land ever were chosen, it would mean potentially another 1,000 residing there.

“Where are they going to get all these people from? The demographic within the village is very good now and I don’t think it needs to be made any bigger. The general view is that the village is at its optimum size now. I don’t know how they think the streets will be able to cope with it. Traffic is already bad so if you were to add another 600 or so cars it would be an absolute nightmare. We don’t want to see the village lose its identity.”

Coun. Andrew Newhouse said people had no need to worry at the moment and this was the perfect opportunity to air their views. “People are getting very upset about things that may happen but this is not what’s happening. The Local Plan looks at our future as a town. These are not final plans at all, there is nothing to worry about, yet.

“This consultation period gives people the opportunity to give their opinions on an area. It does not mean that they are going to select them. If they were to select all these areas in Worsthorne and Cliviger then that is something that we would fight very hard.”

However, Mr Baldwin said that while it did seem unlikely all the sites would be chosen, the fact that they had been earmarked in the Local Plan meant they possibly could be.

“We know they are probably not going to be building more than 300 homes here but the people are still not happy at the notion that there is a possibility it could happen.

“What this has done is it has galvanised people into knocking on doors and getting people committed to doing things. There is a lot of cynicism towards the council. A lot of people feel the council doesn’t care about Worsthorne and some feel this consultation is just paying lip service to what is going to happen.” A residents’ meeting is being held on Tuesday, September 23rd, at Worsthorne Club.