Town rallies behind popular couple in "Save our Porch" battle

George and Patricia Owen outside the porch they are trying to save after Pendle Council said it would have to be torn down as it was not in keeping with the area.
George and Patricia Owen outside the porch they are trying to save after Pendle Council said it would have to be torn down as it was not in keeping with the area.
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A popular couple have called on the community, where they have lived for the past 50 years, to back their fight to keep a porch they built on their home after Pendle Council said it would have to be knocked down.

George and Patricia Owen decided to build the porch onto their home in Taylor Street, Barnoldswick, as an extra security measure after they were broken into while they slept.

But they were devastated when Pendle Council informed them that as the porch is not in keeping with the area and not built in the exact same stone as the rest of the house it would have to be demolished.

As the porch was one of several extra security measures taken by the Owens which they wanted to keep, the couple offered to take it down and re-build it in the exact stone stated by the council.

But after the council refused that stating that it is an ‘eyesore’ that was blocking views in a conservation area and was unsuitable for the age and style of the property, George and Patricia, with their help of their son Gareth, launched an online "Save our Porch" petition.

And the people of Barnoldswick have rallied round the well known and popular couple with 110 people signing it so far and the number of signatures is rising by the day.

The government's independent planning inspectorate will now make a decision about the future of the porch.

George said: "It is not as though we have gone ahead without any regard for the law and built the porch.

"We asked someone at the council if we would need planning permission and we were reassured that for the size of the porch it would not be needed.

"We have even offered to take it down and start again and it seems ridiculous with all the building work that has been carried out in this area, some of it on a much larger scale, that we are being picked on as we were given the incorrect date for when the planning meeting would be held.

"We had planned to attend and speak but we didn't get the chance."

Gareth said that while the burglary had been devastating enough for his parents, the porch had brought them that extra feeling of security and safety.

He said: "We realise the home is situated in a conservation area but the porch is not in the way or causing any harm so it is difficult to understand why it would not be allowed as it is so small.

"And especially when the same council allowed a two storey extension to another property on Taylor Street."

Gareth added that one of the most notable features of Taylor Street was the varying design extensions to the properties on the side where the properties are semi-detached and on the terraced side where there are varying back garden styles and front yard enhancements such a walls, hedges, fencing which are all varying and have altered over time.

Gareth added: "These have given a lot of character to the street.

"The house is constructed using local stone with a Welsh slated roof, and my parents offered to rebuild the porch in the same stone and slate..

"They believe, as do many other people within the Barnoldswick community, that the proposed changes to the porch though will make a significant and beneficial contribution to the house and become very much a part of its character, improving the overall character of the street scene and quality of the area."

Neil Watson, Pendle Council’s Planning and Building Control Manager said: “We received a complaint last September about unlawful building work going on at a property in Taylor Street..

“We investigated and asked the owners to submit a retrospective planning application.

“Their house is in a Conservation Area which means that any new building work has to be in keeping with the area. After careful consideration Pendle Council decided to refuse planning permission.

“The applicants have now appealed that decision and the Government’s independent Planning Inspectorate will make a decision on the appeal. The outcome will determine whether or not the porch has to be removed.

“We are conscious of the impact that planning decisions have on people’s lives.

“But it’s vital that people get planning permission before going ahead with work.

“When people go ahead without it, they run the risk that any building work they have done will have to be removed.”

To sign the Owen's petition go to the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/saveourporch/.