Residents celebrate as developers pull out of plans to build new homes in Colne
Residents who fought long and hard to save a treasured strip of green land in Colne from being built on have won a stunning victory after housing developers pulled out of their original plans.
Developers Gleeson Homes had planned to build up to 106 homes on land known locally as The Lenches, but determined residents banded together to oppose the plans.
It has been a long battle for residents after several attempts by developers to build homes on the land just south of Knotts Lane stretching back to as early as 2000.
Colne businesswoman and nearby resident Emma Hartley was at the forefront of opposition from the public.
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A delighted and relieved Emma said: “A local councillor informed me of a Gleesons plan to build 212 houses opposite my house in February 2021 (106 was phase one).
"This was before any plans were published. As a result of this information I started a campaign to stop it. I joined forces with Claire Kelly, a fellow countryside campaigner, and we ended up with a Facebook page with 2,500 people on it @protectpendlescountryside.
"Loads of residents joined forces and became ‘Waterside Warriors’ to protect Lenches. We also campaign for other countryside areas under threat from developers.
"The late Lord Tony Greaves, a Colne councillor, helped us get a TPO on the trees and we encouraged people to object when plans were published.”
Emma added: "We held a community picnic on the land and a moonbathe. We spoke at and demonstrated outside council meetings. We self funded and printed over 2,000 leaflets which volunteers distributed to local residents.
"We also asked for donations to pay for a planning consultant and I literally had people stuffing money through my door. We eventually got 410 objections on the planning portal and a petition with 275 names on 685 in total.
"The community absolutely pulled together to get Gleesons to back off which they have done and I think it would be amazing if the residents got the credit they deserve for all the hard work that went in to this campaign for a very long stressful 18 months.”