36-home plan rejected by Colne councillors

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Residents have won the first part of their battle to stop 36 homes being built on protected land.

Councillors rejected Beck Developments’ proposals for a site to the north of The Meadows, in Colne - despite officer recommendations to approve the application.

Colne Town Hall was packed with residents against the plans for 30 houses and six bungalows, which will now be put before the Development Management Committee.

Speakers at the Colne and District Committee meeting put forward a diverse range of fears, including access, drainage issues, the impact the development could have on the character of the area, disruption during the building process, and the increase it could potentially have on traffic and congestion in the area. Children’s safety at the nearby Sacred Heart Primary School was also discussed, as well as the fact part of residents’ front gardens could be turned into a footpath.

Resident Adam Thomas said: “I know I am in good company in not wanting these proposals to happen. Alternative sites in Colne will provide a larger percentage of affordable housing.”

And Claire Parker, speaking on behalf of Sacred Heart Primary School headteacher John Robertshaw, said the development would have an impact on the character of the area, and as such an impact on the school environment.

But Andrew Walker, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said: “It has been carefully designed following extensive consultation. It will provide six affordable bungalows, and will help to meet local housing needs.

“Materials fit in with the character of the area, and access is supported by the highway authorities.”

Despite being warned that refusing the application could result in substantial costs, councillors agreed they had a strong enough case to reject the proposals on design and access grounds.

Coun. Joe Cooney, who has attended two public meetings with Coun. David Clegg, said: “We should be doing what we can to ensure that this application doesn’t go forward.

“18 months ago this council threw out an application for 203 houses on Knotts Drive. That went to appeal, and the decision was upheld. This is almost identical to that application, but on a much smaller scale.”

And Coun. Tony Greaves, who criticised the applicant’s location of an “open space” area, said: “Some of the things that have been raised today and in the objections are perfectly reasonable and fair, but they are not necessarily reasons we can take into account as a planning committee.

“I think the design of the estate is appalling, and I don’t think we should be allowing that kind of development in Pendle.”