Controversial Colne homes plan withdrawn

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Controversial plans to build 17 houses on land off Red Lane, Colne, adjacent to Sacred Heart RC Primary School have been withdrawn.

The news comes in the light of widespread objections that the development would be built on a wildlife area and prayer garden which the school has developed in recent years.

And while the school’s headteacher, Mr John Robertshaw, said he was pleased the application had been withdrawn, he added the school would be keeping a careful eye on developments in case a new plan was submitted when the school was on holiday.

“There have been a lot objections and while it may seem like a good thing, we will wait and see what happens next,” he said.

Confirming the withdrawal of the application, Pendle Council leader Joe Cooney, in whose Vivary Bridge ward the site stands, said: “The council had listened to the concerns expressed by local people and was now looking to find a sensible solution to the issue.

“There are also rumours an application for housing on land on the other side of the school is going to be submitted so we have decided to withdraw our plans.”

Coun. Cooney’s ward colleague, Coun. David Clegg, and fellow Liberal Democrat Coun. Tony Greaves had written to Pendle Council chief executive Stephen Barnes calling for the plans to be withdrawn pending negotiations with the school.

The land was one of six council-owned sites in Pendle declared suitable for housing development earlier this year by the council’s Executive.

But the withdrawal of land at Gib Hill on the Nelson-Colne boundary and Aspen Grove, Earby, from the list focused attention on the Red Lane site.

Coun. Greaves has written, on behalf of Coun. Clegg and himself, to Pendle’s Chief Executive Stephen Barnes to ask for the application to be “withdrawn pending formal discussions between councillors and Sacred Heart School with the intention of negotiating a compromise in the interests of both the council and children at the school”.

Coun. Clegg said: “There is a lot of history to this matter which is more complicated than has been made public. But the bottom line is that we do not want the school to lose its access, and we do not want the children not to have the benefit of the garden.”

Coun. Greaves said: “I don’t think there is any need for a quick decision, and that a reasonable compromise can be reached. But everyone should be aware that, in present circumstances, the council has to dispose of some of its assets for the benefit of Colne or Pendle as a whole, and this particular land is likely to be worth millions of pounds.”