Housing developer no longer has to repair historic Colne pump house after planning condition waived
The Lidgett and Beyond community group objected to an application to remove the planning condition for the developer of the Lower Rough to repair the decaying and dangerous Pump House on the adjacent land to its development.
However, councillors were told that, despite the planning inspector at the appeal including the restoration of the local historic asset in his list of conditions, it now failed the tests laid down in the National Planning Policy Framework as the land on which the pump house stands is no longer in the same ownership.
Councillors then had no alternative but to waive the planning condition to restore the former Pump House.
The group's chairman of Trustees, David Cockburn-Price, explained: “Barton Wilmore, who represented the landowner of The Rough, Junction Property, at the appeal also represented the developer McDermott’s at the virtual Colne Area Committee last week.
"Their representative admitted that the removal of this condition, freely offered at the appeal, from which the entire community would benefit, including the residents of the new houses, was 'a bitter pill to swallow'.
"I think this is a matter of corporate responsibility and principle that should be addressed, because this is clearly a firm seeking to dodge its moral responsibility to the community."
The former reservoir Pump House, situated near the entrance to The Rough from Skipton Old Road, has been subjected to vandalism over recent years.
It has also become a site for anti-social behaviour, owing to its decayed state.
Several councillors expressed their anger during the virtual meeting, especially as McDermott’s had led councillors to believe the works would be going ahead when it recently signed an updated Unilateral Undertaking to complete the work before the first house is occupied.
“Ultimately, just because they could lawfully wriggle out of this obligation, doesn’t mean they should”, commented David Cockburn-Price.
“Lidgett and Beyond Charity has galvanised the local community to work together on so many issues, not just fighting off the unwanted development on the Rough, but for projects like the East Colne Way circular walk.
"We are a community group working towards making this area a better place to live and visit, so it is galling that the developer who is reaping financial rewards at the area’s expense isn’t prepared to give something back.”
Councillors resolved to task Pendle Borough Council’s planning manager to ensure that the owner of the Pump House takes on the repair of the building under whichever of the statutory instruments at his disposal is most fitting.
Local councillors have now vowed to add the Pump House, situated in the Lidgett and Bents Conservation Area, to the list of Problem Sites that receives monthly scrutiny in the town’s area committee.
Problem Sites are not removed from the list until they are resolved.