Pendle: Green belt homes plan at former farm cafe and activity centre in Higham

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New homes could be built at the site of a former farm shop, restaurant and farm activity centre in Pendle, located in green belt land.

Applicant Charles McDermott of Trail Architects, based in Perth, Scotland, is seeking planning permission for the demolition of existing buildings and the construction of 12 homes at the former Roaming Roosters site at Barrowford Road, Higham, near Fence.

Objections have been raised by some people over concerns including traffic, parking spaces, flooding, an alleged lack of local school places, the impact on green belt and wildlife worries.

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However, others have supported the plan, saying it will regenerate a redundant brownfield site and will not create as much traffic as the former farm shop, cafe and activity centre generated.

Roaming Roosters. Photo: GoogleRoaming Roosters. Photo: Google
Roaming Roosters. Photo: Google

Pendle Council’s Barrowford and Western Parishes Committee will discuss the application at its meeting on Wednesday, November 2. Under new borough council arrangements, area committees can now only make recommendations about planning applications. Decision-making powers have been removed from area committees under an ongoing council shake-up.

A report to the Barrowford area committee states: “The application site lies in the green belt. It is previously developed land outside Fence. It has a commercial building that has been disused for some time and is deteriorating.

“Comments have been made by many parties regarding the green belt. Many revolve around the view that the site is in green belt and there should not be any development within it.

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“Planning policy nationally restricts development in the green belt as being inappropriate. Where inappropriate development is proposed, permission should only be granted if there are ‘very special planning circumstances’.

“Very special planning circumstances are not being advanced with the application. The issue here is whether what is being proposed would affect openness more than the existing development and if it would, the development would be inappropriate development harmful to the green belt.

“The assessment on whether the development would have a greater impact on openness needs to be taken based on the individual merits of the site and its surroundings.”

Nearby are the listed buildings of Ashlar Cottage and Lower White Lee. However Pendle planning officers say the new development would not impact on them.

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Regarding designs for the new homes, the report adds: “The applicants have submitted a detailed design appraisal of how the proposed design has beenarrived at and how it has been influenced by other design in the area. The designs are simple and reflective of what can be found elsewhere in the borough. They represent a visual improvement to what is currently on site and there are no objections in terms of design.”

The proposed housing scheme would have a larger overall cubic volume but is not concentrated in one place and has less of a single ‘massing’ effect on the site.

Overall, Pendle Council planning officers are recommending that consent be delegated to them, subject to receiving satisfactory drainage information from the applicant.

Other planning applications for the area committee to consider include use of an agricultural building for livestock at Tower Farm, Gisburn Road, Blacko; and front and rear dormers and a rear extension at 22 Stone Edge Road, Barrowford. Both are recommended for refusal.

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Separately, an application for a two-storey and single-storey side extension at Harpers House, Harpers Lane, Fence; and the conversion and extension of an outbuilding to create a home at 147 Wheatley Lane Road, Barrowford, are both recommended for approval.


Because of ongoing changes at Pendle Council, areas committees can now only comment about planning applications rather than make formal decisions.

Pendle Council is creating a new central planning committee to deal with all applications in future. However, until the new planning committee’s size and remit is fully defined and formally constituted, planning decisions are being taken by all borough councillors at full council meetings.

Removing planning decision-making from area committees has been controversial among some people. Labour and Lib-Dem councillors have opposed the move, saying it removes local input from area-based councillors, residents, parish and town councils. They argue good planning decisions and engagement comes from the area committee system. They also have concerns about how many councillors are involved in the new planning committee and the ability to ‘call-in’ applications for closer scrutiny.

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However, ruling Conservative councillors has said area committees have made inconsistent planning decisions, leaving the borough open to planning appeals and potential costs, and councillors sitting on area committees are vulnerable to local pressure from local electors. Supporters of the shake-up also say planning needs to be more efficiently handled by one central committee, as part of a wider transformation project across Pendle Council’s activities. Residents and other parish or town organisations will still be able to speak at future planning committee meetings, which could be held in different locations, the Conservatives have said.

Barrowford & Western Parishes Area Committee meets at Holmefield House, Barrowford, at 7pm on Wednesday, November 2.