‘Enormous’ house extension plan on greenbelt site in Brierfield is refused

A plan to extend a house on greenbelt land by more than double its current size has been refused by Pendle councillors.
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Applicant Mr S Choudrey had sought permission for first floor and single storey ground floor extensions to Monkholme Lodge at Robinson Lane near Brierfield.

However councillors on Pendle Council’s Policy & Resources Committee rejected the application, despite some support from local ward councillors. They were also told the house, which dates back to the 1940s, appeared to have been extended without planning permission in 2013.

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In early September, councillors on the borough’s Nelson, Brierfield and Reedley Area Committee had recommended the Monkholme Lodge plan be approved, against the advice of Pendle planning officers who said approval would be contrary to policy .

An application to extend Monkholme Lodge at Robinson Lane near Brierfield was rejected by Pendle councillorsAn application to extend Monkholme Lodge at Robinson Lane near Brierfield was rejected by Pendle councillors
An application to extend Monkholme Lodge at Robinson Lane near Brierfield was rejected by Pendle councillors

As a result, the application had to be referred to the more senior Policy & Resources Committee for a final say.

A neighbour had written to Pendle Council in support of Mr Choudrey’s application, stating: “I would like to confirm the planning application has no impact on where I live. My property, Galen, is detached and in its own ground, therefore there is no visual impairment. I support this application and would like to confirm this application will not cause any inconvenience to myself or to members of the family at my address.”

A planning report to Pendle councillors stated a building had existed at the Monkholme site since 1948 and been extended in more recent decades. But decisions on house extensions on greenbelt land had to consider the house’s original volume.

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The report added: “The ‘original building’ is the external volume of the building as first built or as it was in July 1948. Maps available from the 1940s show that a building has been present on the site since then. It is not entirely clear how much the original building was altered between the 1940s and 2010, when a planning application was submitted for its extension. However, the footprint appears to have remained relatively similar until 2010.”

Pendle Council’s head of planning, Neil Watson, said: “This plan is enormous, in terms of its impact. This would drive a coach-and-horses through policy.”

Conservative Coun Sarah Cockburn-Price said: “We had a similar application at Red Lane in Colne. Growing by 253% is a lot. It would have an impact on policies for the greenbelt. I think it should be refused.”

However Labour Coun Mohammad Hanif suggested it be approved: “This extension would go upward not side-ward or backward. It would not take up any extra space around the building.”

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But Conservative Coun Nadeem Ahmed, who is also leader of Pendle Council, said: “Planning policy for greenbelt sites states that extensions should not be disproportionate to the existing building. Growing by 253% would be disproportionate.”

Conservative Coun David Cockburn Price agreed but asked, in theory, if creating a large basement would be acceptable in greenbelt policy.

Mr Watson said although a large basement would not be visible, planning policy still required an extension to be proportionate to the existing building’s volume. A massive basement would be classed as damaging.

In a vote, the Monkholme Lodge application was refused.