Controversial 200-home development in Burnley on hold over flood fears

Councillors have deferred a decision on controversial plans to build 200 homes on farmland for a second time to consider new evidence about flood risks to the site.

Prospect Homes want to construct the properties at Hollins Cross Farm off Woodplumpton Road in Burnley.

Under their plans, the 21-acre site would become a estate of two, three and four-bedroomed mainly detached houses of which 20 would be affordable homes.

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The site lies on the edge of the built-up area of Rose Hill.

The 21-acre site, off Woodplumpton Road, where Prospect Homes want to build 200 properties
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Burnley Council’s Development Control Committee had been recommended by officers to approve the scheme on Wednesday night after postponing making a decision last month.

But after the Hollins Cross Farm Residents Group submitted an expert report on flood risks it had commissioned the councillors put off making a ruling again.

The plan provoked a heated debate on the committee especially as the developer could have taken the scheme direct to government inspectors because of the further delay.

But Jonathan Ainley from Savill’s, who are the planning agents for Prospect, said the applicant was happy to agree a further two month postponement to allow council officers and councillors to look at the new report.

Planning consultant Claire Bradley, speaking on behalf of the residents, told the committee: “The group have employed an experience flood consultant to assess the information. This response should be digested and addressed before a decision is made.

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“Currently water collected on the site disperses through an existing culvert to a watercourse on the north side of New Road close to the junction with Woodplumpton Road.

“No assessment has been undertaken as to whether the existing culvert is suitable and contains the capacity to accommodate the increased flow rate from the proposed development.

“The risk of groundwater flooding needs to be considered in greater detail and its impact on surface water flows not to increase flood risk elsewhere if the site is to be developed.

“It has clearly not been demonstrated that the new development does not result in increased flood risk from any source or other drainage problems.”

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Mr Ainley told the councillors that the firm had taken several significant steps to reduce any perceived flood risk and protect biodiversity and was happy to pay to pay £1.25m for infrastructure agreements, including providing new school places, highways upgrades, public open space improvements and more bus services.

Local Coal Clough with Deer Play ward Cllr Gordon Birtwistle was originally going to move refusal of planning permission but then moved deferral after Mr Ainley agreed to extend the deadline for determination.