Campaigners win first round of Nelson sports field houmes battle

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RESIDENTS fighting to prevent a major housing development on a disused Nelson sports field have won the first round of their battle.

Pendle Council’s Nelson Committee heard the protests of people living in the Priory Chase area of town against the plans by Gleeson Homes to build 106 hmses on the former James Nelson’s sports field - and voted by a majority to refuse planning permission.

Planning officers had recommended the application be approved and it will now be referred to the council’s Development Management Committee meeting on March 14th.

Councillors felt the planned access to the site in Priory Chase was unsuitable and cited the effects on residential amenities as grounds for refusal.

Resident Steve Elliott said, during inclement weather, the access point was unreachable by car. “On the first hint of snow, or even if it is just forecast, Priory Chase residents move their cars to a location where they will be able to escape afterwards,” he said.

“This situation leads to the entrance to Priory Chase being used for excess parking, along with the whole of Clough Road and most of York Street. This is usually between 10 and 20 additional vehicles.

“Gleeson’s proposal will add easily over 50 further vehicles to this total, yet on occasions there is not enough space to accommodate the current overflow.”

Mr Elliott said, for five weeks last winter, he had been unable to reach his drive because of snow and queried whether Gleeson would expect its customers not to be able to get to their homes when it snowed.

He said highways officers had said Priory Chase was only adequate for domestic vehicles and lightweight trucks and asked how diggers and plant equipment would get to the site.

He also questioned the timescale of the development, which Gleeson has said would be reliant on the rate of sales. He said eight homes on Fern Close had not been sold over a four-year period even though they were in a better location than those planned by Gleeson.

“Using this timescale of building and sales, we could see the proposed building project going on for up to 50 years,” he said.

A Gleeson spokesman told the meeting there was nothing to suggest the access was unsafe under planning law and investment in the site would bring jobs and other benefits to the area.

Coun. Mohammed Iqbal said Gleeson was a reputable company with a proven track record. “This is one of the most stringent applications I have come across. There are 20 conditions attached and many of them have to be satisfied before work can start. On balance, I am happy to support it,” he said.

But Coun. Eileen Ansar said she had no problems with Gleeson but it had picked the wrong place for the houses.