Several attempts have been made by developers to build homes on the land just south of Knotts Lane stretching back to as early as 2000 with several attempts rebuffed.
Speaking just this week, Pendle Council leader Coun. Nadeem Ahmed said the council would continue to promote regeneration on Brownfield land and protect Pendle’s countryside, and would be “pressing forward with the new Local Plan based on lower housing targets.”
However, Gleeson Homes has now submitted plans to build 106 new homes on land dubbed the ‘Garden of Colne’, a move which has prompted an angry response from residents.
Leader Times reported last year that they had seen workers digging up the field and drilling holes in what they felt was preparation for building work.
Speaking at a remote meeting of Pendle Council’s Colne and District Area Committee in March last year, resident of Lenches, local businesswoman Emma Hartley held up a paper showing a map of new houses on the site and told councillors that Gleeson Homes already had a masterplan in place to build a development of 212 houses.
Emma and other residents’ fears have now been confirmed with the planning application being lodged.
Hundreds of objections to the application have since been posted on the council’s website.
Speaking this week, Emma said: “Our worst fears are now founded and plans are in. The situation is a scandal. Residents and local business are concerned about the detrimental impact this would have on our wildlife and on the risks for flooding.
"We have delivered over 2,000 leaflets in South Valley and beyond, held a community picnic and have been encouraged by the amount of objections from local people, businesses and groups opposed to this.”
Miss Debbie Dale, who was born and raised in the area, and whose mother still lives there, said she was concerned that the bridge at the bottom of Lenches (Colne Water Bridge) would be used as a main access to Lenches by residents of the proposed new houses, despite it only having a one vehicle width, poor visibility, and a single path to one side.
"Not only will this be dangerous for pedestrians and drivers but there is also potential of damaging the bridge which has happened many times before,” Debbie said.
"I also think the proposed idea of implementing a pedestrian crossing for the potential new build just below the listed Woolpack building would have a detrimental impact on the historic heritage of the area, especially as it has been proposed in the planning that the area will look built up due to the footways and cycle paths they wish to implement into the area to support the estate and residents.
"There are a multitude of reasons as to why this proposed development would be an awful idea for the area and hopefully residents' objections will hold some weight when the councillors make their decision.”