Burnley warehouse plans met with condemnation

An aerial shot showing where the warehouse will be built. Photo: Google Maps
An aerial shot showing where the warehouse will be built. Photo: Google Maps
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Indignant homeowners in Briercliffe are up in arms over plans to build a warehouse at the back of a housing estate.

Proposals have been submitted to Burnley Council that, if given the go-ahead, would see a three-storey warehouse erected off Balderstone Lane on Heasandford Industrial Estate.

The application has been made by Rolfe Carpets who currently operate from West Mill, Churchill Way, Brierfield, adjacent to Pendle Village Mill, and want to buy the land from the council in order to relocate there.

Rolfe Carpets is one of the largest independent carpet and flooring wholesalers in the North-West and according to the application the new unit in Balderstone Lane will allow the company to consolidate its operations and create an additional 10 jobs for Burnley residents.

However, the site in question backs on to Lydgate and residents in the area are concerned about a number of factors including the size of the building and the effect it will have on wildlife.

Mr Anthony Hill, one of the people behind Briercliffe Community Hub, is urging homeowners to make their voices heard and said the hub had been issuing advice on writing letters of objection.

“There are a lot of people who are not happy with the development,” he said. “There are things which we are not able to object to – loss of view, decrease in land value – which I don’t think is necessarily fair but that’s that way it is.

“However, I feel there are aspects of this application that are questionable and certainly worth objecting over.”

Mr Hill said the biodiversity of the site, loss of sunlight, volume of traffic –there will be approximately 100 LGV and 30 HGV movements a day – and noise were all points that needed highlighting.

“People think we are clutching at straws when we talk about biodiversity but there are deer and bats and badgers on this site.

“People have shared photos of them on the land. The ecologist study done in support of the application is a desktop study – they have spent hardly any time there. The fact is, this wildlife is present there.

“Also, if this development is given the go-ahead they are going to have to relocate or realign the Brun Valley Greenway. A Public Path Order should have been made for this but we haven’t seen one.”

The full application is for a warehouse, associated offices, showroom and car parking facilities.

Mr Hill said he believes the development is too big and there are serious concerns regarding noise levels.

“We know this is industrial land and a smaller development may have been fine, but this is an affront.

“When the tip was moved to Heasandford people were told the noise would not affect the estate – again a desktop study. You can hear the tip working all day.

“There still hasn’t even been a site notice put up. We are trying to mobilise the community but it is hard when the general consensus is that the council has already made up its mind and there’s nothing we can do.

“That is not the case. Even if the application is passed, the power of the community does not stop there. We can try and get conditions added. The fight goes on.”

A spokesman for planning consultants Kirkwells, who are acting on behalf of Rolfe Carpets, said: "We have been made aware of the concerns of local residents in relation to ecology, noise, footpath relocation, access and traffic and the height of building and would like to allay the fears of the local residents. The site in question is a site allocated for industrial use in the Burnley Local Plan and has been so for well over 20 years.

"An ecological survey undertaken by qualified ecologists has accompanied the application which identifies any protected species that might be affected by this application. The site was seen as low ecological value for both bats and badger, with no evidence of roosts or setts respectively within the site.

"The trees between the site and Lydgate are to be retained and the existing Brun Valley Way footpath to be relocated along the north side of the woodland plantation and has been agreed with Burnley Borough Council. Lighting will be designed to shine within the site with no light spillage into the surrounding countryside

"With regard to noise, a noise survey has been submitted with the application which concludes that the layout, with the loading bays to the rear of the site, the significant excavation works required and the difference in ground levels, will offer a noise shield for residents of neighbouring properties and the proposed noise levels from the site will be well below the World Health Organisation guidelines, with the predicted noise impact being low.

"With regards to access and traffic, the application will generate an additional 30 HGV movements across the working day, with a further 100 LGV movements which includes staff cars across the day. I must emphasise that the vehicle movements are across the day and the company do not have a fleet of this number of vehicles. These can be accommodated within the existing road network and will not increase congestion in the area. All parking will be accommodated within the site and will not spill out on the industrial estate roads.

"The height of the building is 16.375 metres at its highest point with the portal frame section closest to the houses on Lydgate having a highest point of 14.785m, and will be located over 100m from the houses at a much lower ground level, and will not impact on the sunlight and daylight to any of the houses.

"To put this in context, the two BooHoo buildings were submitted at heights of 24m (2014 application) and 22.2m (2016 application).

"Both Kirkwells and Rolfe Carpets would like to work with the residents to discuss their issues."