Councillors promise 'no house building' on treasured stretch of Pendle green land

Pendle councillors have made a huge statement by voting not to allow house building on the treasured strip of green land in Pendle known as Gib Hill.

By Dominic Collis
Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 11:13 am

The issue of Gib Hill has been a political hot potato in recent years as residents have fought to keep the land free from development, while Labour and Tory councillors have clashed over its future.

Now, following a “marathon” meeting of Pendle Council’s Policy and Resources Committee, the ruling Conservative administration say they have now permanently resolved the issue and many others.

Sitting until almost midnight, the Conservative Administration voted at 11pm to see out the packed agenda, which included the future of Gib Hill, as well as the fate of the Nelson Allotments at Walton Lane, a clear timetable for the new Local Plan, the choice of the new joint venture development partner, the safeguarding of land by the White Lion at Earby, the future of a car park on Leeds Road, Nelson, the Climate Emergency Declaration, a potential new use for the ground and first floors of the ACE Centre, investment in Hodge House Playing Fields and the resurfacing of a car and lorry park in Barnoldswick.

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The land at Gibb Hill could now be saved from housing developement

Council leader, Coun. Nadeem Ahmed, said: “Residents were there to see our Group pass a resolution to ensure there will never be house building on Gib Hill and to find a way forward for it to become a local nature reserve, doubling the provision of nature reserve land within the borough.

"This single decision is one of which I am inordinately proud, but there were many more positive decisions last night.”

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Coun. Karen Howarth spoke in favour of accepting a survey proving that the land at the Walton Lane Allotments was unsuitable for use as a cemetery extension, as the bedrock is too close to the surface. This means that the preferred site for a new cemetery is now Halifax Road, Nelson.

“I know many allotment holders celebrated over the weekend”, said Karen.

Coun. Mike Goulthorp proposed a motion to transfer Earby’s “village green” by the White Lion, to the town council, safeguarding its future and removing the maintenance cost to the borough council.

Coun. Sarah Cockburn-Price, chairman of the Climate Emergency Working Group, presented the Climate Emergency Declaration Update and Coun. David Cockburn-Price urged that the Battery Recycling Scheme and Foil Recycling Campaign be brought forward as soon as possible.

All the councillors welcomed work by Bradley Big Local Community Land Trust to transform the often boggy Hodge House Playing Fields into a 3G pitch that can be used year round and the investment by Lancashire County Council to resurface the lorry and car park in Barnoldswick.

Councillors also voted for the ground and first floors of the ACE Centre to potentially become a new digital spoke hub for Nelson and Colne College, not to dispose of, or lease, a small car park serving shops on Leeds Road, so it can continue to be used by the community without restriction, and the choice of the Brookhouse Group as the Council’s new development partner for future regeneration projects, with many being part of the £25m Nelson Town Deal.