Blackburn Issa brothers fail to overturn Burnley Bridge Business Park warehouse decision

A bid by Blackburn's billionaire Issa brothers to overturn the rejection of their scheme to complete Burnley Bridge Business Park has failed.

A government inspector has upheld the decision by councillors to refuse detailed planning permission for three industrial/warehouse units Titanium Park near Junction 9 of the M65.

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Monte Blackburn Ltd, the property arm of EG Group founders Mohsin and Zuber Issa business empire, purchased the nine-acre site in October 2021 for millions of pounds.

Burnley Bridge Business Park

In June Burnley Council’s development control committee rejected its officers’ recommendation to grant permission for the proposed details of the redevelopment in Magnesium Way, Hapton.

Monte Blackburn appealed the refusal to the government’s planning inspectorate.

Now, inspector M J Francis has upheld the decision based in the warehouses’ impact on surrounding houses.

He highlights the fact they would exceed the maximum ridge height of seven metres for buildings on that part of the business park included in the Burnley Local Plan.

Clare Hales, from Burnley Green Party and chair of Burnley Bridge Action Group. who led the opposition to the scheme, said: “We are delighted with the result.

“We always knew that once someone who wasn’t local looked at the plans, they would see that 13 metre high industrial units, just metres away from residential homes, was a completely unreasonable use of the land.

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“Thankfully, common sense has prevailed.

“A group of feisty residents took on the billionaires and won.

“We have always supported appropriate development of this land and look forward to seeing high-quality jobs being brought to the business park, as long as they housed in a single-storey building no higher than seven metres, as per the Local Plan.”

The inspector’s report says: “The appeal is dismissed, and the reserved matters are refused.

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“The main issue is the effect of the proposal on the living conditions of the occupiers of dwellings that adjoin the site.

“Unit A would be closest to Kings Drive which is lower than the site. The building would tower over the adjoining housing.

“Notwithstanding the planting proposed, Units A and B would be a visible presence which would dominate the views of those living nearby to the buildings and would appear overbearing. The presence of such large buildings would feel oppressive.

“Whilst there are already existing buildings on the site, these are much further away from residential properties. The overall mass of the buildings, as a result of their height and scale, would appear dominant.

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“This would seriously harm the living conditions of the residents of neighbouring dwellings.”

A spokesman for Monte Blackburn Ltd said: “We are disappointed with the decision and are now considering all options.”

A Burnley Council spokesman said: “It was reassuring to note that a refusal decision made by the council’s development control committee, with reasons supported by the Local Plan, was considered sound by the independent planning inspector.”

Hapton with Park Coun. Jamie McGowan said: “This is brilliant news for all the residents on and around Kings Drive and shows what can be done when people get together and collectively say no.“We all knew the problems with the height of this proposed development and so it is right that it was knocked back.”