The leader of Pendle Conservatives has slammed Pendle Council’s lack of action to develop brownfield sites across the borough.
In a report to the August Executive, council officers admitted only £50,000 of the £1.5m. Brownfield Fund has been spent across the borough during the last two years and that it has helped build just five houses.
Tory leader Coun. Joe Cooney said: “This is nothing short of a scandal. The council’s Labour and Lib Dem ruling Executive should be ashamed of themselves.
“This money has been sitting in the bank for nearly three years now – the entire time of their administration – and next to nothing has been done.
“However, the Executive seems happy to sell off our precious greenfield sites for development, like the land off Red Lane, Colne, which currently has a planning application for 55 houses submitted.
“When we established the Fund in early 2015, it was to kick-start development and build houses to protect our greenfields while boosting investment in our towns and villages.
“The current Executive has quite clearly failed to do that and it’s a dereliction of their duty.”
The £1.5m. fund was established by the Conservative administration in 2015 to deliver hundreds of houses on previously developed sites across Pendle.
These Brownfield sites are usually less profitable to developers, but their presence blights towns and villages and local residents usually want to see them developed.
Councillors on the Executive will on Thursday consider disposing of further council-owned greenfield sites in Earby and Colne, which would provide up to 151 new houses.
Horsfield Coun. Neil Butterworth said: “It seems Labour and Lib Dems want to build on our precious greenspaces in Horsfield where they have no borough councillors to answer residents.
“The idea of building on the green space off Bryon Road is an outrage and should be dropped immediately.”
Earby Coun. Mike Goulthorp added that a proposed development on Red Lion Street would result in the loss of agricultural land and a valuable car park for residents.
He said: “The key driver seems to be more cash receipts for the council, not the lives of its residents.”
But Pendle Council leader Coun. Mohammed Iqbal said that the council did not want to waste money during its current difficult financial situation.
He said: “In these very difficult times for both the council and local residents, the council will not simply throw away money but is working hard with developments and their owners to bring forward schemes which will be achieved.
“The Conservatives, while in control of the council, were paying lip service to protect local services. The Executive will scrutinise each scheme before handing over residents’ money.”