Battle to save Nelson green fields from housing development

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THE battle to save Gib Hill on the edge of Nelson from housing development is gearing up.

The issue was raised at Pendle Council’s Nelson Committee on Monday, with people in favour of maintaining it as a natural grassland getting their message across.

In public question time, Alison Plackett of the Friends of Gib Hill claimed 97% of Britain’s natural grasslands had been lost.

She pointed out that Gib Hill was being looked at for specific site management and asked: “Why nothing has happened to implement this plan?”

And Dr John Plackett asked: “When is Pendle Council going to begin to carry out work on Gib Hill to restore it to its natural heritage?”

The third question came from Azhar Ali, a former Pendle councillor. He asked: “Will this council consider setting up a land treatment to enhance the nature environment of Gib Hill?”

Brian Cookson, the council’s executive director (regeneration), said: “I think there is a great deal of concern about Gib Hill. I am sure the council will not go down on its responsibilities. We can bring a report to the next meeting covering these issues.”

And the council’s Labour leader Coun. Mohammed Iqbal, said: “The Labour Group would like Gib Hill not developed at all for housing.”

And Mr Ali suggested the council should create a new country park there – named after the Queen. Friends of Gib Hill appeared to receive unanimous support from councillors.

Mr Ali and Mrs Plackett have been spearheading the campaign and established Friends of Gib Hill.

After the meeting, Mrs Plackett said: “The council has designated some of the fields Biological Heritage Sites, but has not enacted a local nature reserve, despite receiving numerous instructions from environmental organisations, and even having a council decision to do so. In my view, the council is playing a dangerous game with Gib Hill, and the future of our town’s natural environment, and not complying with the law.”

Coun. Iqbal added: “I want to congratulate Alison and Azhar for their campaign, which has run for over 10 years.

“I believe officers should produce a report looking at all the options outlined by Friends of Gib Hill, which includes the Get Knotted campaign and Rage.

“I think its an excellent idea to rename Gib Hill after our Queen.”

He added he could declare publicly that the Labour group would oppose development on Gib Hill and would support its preservation and enhancement.