Residents' hope deer spotted on 'natural beauty spot' in Padiham will help them win battle to stop homes plan on site

Deer has been spotted for the first time in months on an area of land in Padiham where plans have been submitted to build houses.

Neighbours, who are opposing the application to build the six detached bungalows on the land, which is considered to be 'one of the most beautiful and natural' areas in the town, hope the deer sighting will strengthen their case.

Residents were thrilled in March after the controversial plans to build homes on an area of land known, as Craggs Farm, was given the red light by councillors.

Members of Burnley's Development Control committee refused the plan to build the bungalows on the grounds that it was considered to be 'detrimental to the character and appearance of the area.'

Deer has returned for the first time in many months to Craggs Farm in Padiham where plans are being made to build homes

In a report presented to the committee by planning officers the development was described as not being in keeping with the surrounding area by virtue of its 'poor design and layout.'

The plan was also kicked out on the grounds that because it would be built so close to several homes in Whalley Road there would not be enough distance to ensure privacy to the homes.

But residents' celebrations were shortlived as the plan was re-submitted in April with alterations made to the distance from the existing homes in Whalley Road.

A decision is due to be made by councilliors on the scheme next month.

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The Craggs Farm site after it was cleared last year.

A spokesman for the objecting residents said they were now hoping the objections they raised would be enough to knock back the planning application for a second time.

He said: "A meeting was due to be held last week but this has been postponed due to the pandemic and all meetings are now being done remotely.

"Seeing the deer returning was certainly a bit of good news and luckily most of us saw it and managed to get a photo of what we hope will be the first of many."

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The campaign against developing the site in Vicarage Avenue began after it was cleared several months ago leaving residents angry as the area has long been acknowledged as a 'natural beauty spot' with an abundance of wildlife and vegetation including bats, owls, wild flowers, lilac, trees and deer in the summer months.

A public meeting was held to draw up a battle plan against the application and residents even chipped in to employ a professional planning consultant to present their case.

The area is part of the Huntroyde Estate and lies in a triangle between Blackburn Road, Vicarage Avenue and Whalley Road. There is a building known as Craggs farmhouse on the western boundary.

The site was not included in Burnley's Local Plan, which was adopted last year and sets out the overall strategy for development up to 2032.

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Padiham Town Council objected to the application and Lancashire County Council had expressed concerns about parking and access issues.

In 2007 an application to build a 60 bed care home was turned down and in 2017 a second application for 20 houses on the site was also given the red light.