Battle lines drawn in fight save green land in Colne
Frustrated residents and concerned councillors have teamed up to fight to save a green site from development.
Their worries centre on land in the Gibb Hil area, predominantly green space between Nelson and Colne, included in Pendle Council's Local Plan.
The council has earmarked the area for new housing, but residents and Colne Waterside councillors fear the current Covid lockdown will prevent proper scrutiny of the plans.
Waterside Liberal Democrat Coun. Alice Mann is working to ensure Gib Hill is included in the final Colne Neighbourhood Plan and recognised as a protected green space. She hopes that all Pendle councillors will agree that this natural and historical asset should be preserved.
“It is vital that this site, which is owned by Pendle Council, is not sold for short term profit but is kept for future generations to enjoy," she said.
"Finding sites for the necessary number of homes required in Pendle is important but people are fed up with the number of green fields that are disappearing under housing estates when there are plenty of empty buildings and disused sites here in Pendle that could be utilised.”
Together with her fellow Waterside councillors Dorothy Lord and Tony Greaves, they had hoped that at a recent committee meeting all three parties would join together to defer the consultation process.
However, because of the present lockdown regulations this was not to be and only the Lib Dem councillors pressed for this option.
There are now real concerns that due to the Covid-19 pandemic the consultation documents will only be available online, and although the council will hold meetings to discuss the plans, these will again only be online.
There will be one to one sessions with the planning officer but this does not seem to follow the advice from the Government about staying at home especially for the clinically vulnerable.
Colne resident Andrew Ashworth said: “It is very disappointing that Pendle decided to go ahead with the Local Plan consultation during the lockdown.
"I don’t like this, it feels very undemocratic. There are lots of people who are digitally disconnected and will not know about the consultation and will be unable to view and download all the information from the internet.”
There is a concern that many local groups linked with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, The Nature Society and English Heritage are not meeting at the moment and so will miss out about hearing of this consultation process, but would have comments to make as to why building on such a green space would be an environmental disaster.
Residents can write to Pendle Council for a copy of the Local Plan and must comment before 5pm on March 26th.