New homes will be built on former Burnley school site after planning inspector overturns council's decision to refuse permission

Burnley Council planning committee’s decision to refuse permission for 44 homes on the site of a former short-stay school has been overturned by a government planning inspector.

By Bill Jacobs
Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 12:09 pm

His decision was revealed at Wednesday’s meeting of Burnley Full Council with a warning that it could land the authority a large bill for costs.

The application by McDermott Homes and Lancashire County Council for the new homes at the site of the former Isaac Centre in Harrogate Crescent was turned down by the borough’s development control committee in September.

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Burnley Council could now be hit with a big bill after a planning inspector overturned their decision to refuse permission for 44 new homes

It followed a campaign by nearby residents against the proposed housing estate objecting to the increase in traffic the new homes would bring.

Planning Inspector F. Wilkinson upheld an appeal by the developers and county council finding insufficient legal grounds for refusal.

Coun. Cosima Towneley said: “I wonder if the executive member could update this council on what we are going to have to pay for the pointless political posturing in the development control meeting which led to going against officer recommendation on the land around the Isaac Centre which will consequently cost the residents of this borough a great deal of money?”

Housing and planning boss Coun. John Harbour said: “They won the appeal but I don’t think the costs have been confirmed yet.

“Our planning officers give recommendations and members should take those recommendations on board.

“There’s nothing to say they have always got to follow officers’ advice but that being said when professional people are offering advice and warning that there may be costs I think colleagues from all parties should be perhaps a little more careful before making decisions in future.

“If you are turning applications down you have got to turn them down for the right reasons, for planning reasons."

Coun. Gordon Birtwistle said: “I’ve been on development control for 35 years and I sit there sometimes and think what is the point.

“We are elected by members of our community to stand up for their views.

“We now get reports every time saying ‘You can’t do this, You can’t do that, you can’t do the other’.

“At the moment we have very little say.

“Where is the democracy in all this? We might as well give the officers the right to sign everything through and then we’ll never get in trouble.”