New Pendle homes should be built on ‘brownfield’ sites

builders at work on new homes. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
builders at work on new homes. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Building new houses on brownfield sites across Pendle must be a priority for the area.

That was the view of Pendle Council who have backed a motion by Liberal Democrats setting out the council’s determination to build houses on brownfield sites.

The Liberal Deputy Leader of the council, Coun. Tony Greaves, said this is one of the top priorities for the council.

He noted progress in bringing forward developments at Clitheroe Road in Brierfield, Bright Street and phase two of Bunkers Hill in Colne, and at Bankhouse Road, Nelson.

However, Coun. Greaves said the council is still awaiting a government announcement on support for the £1.5m brownfield sites fund which cannot be used by scattering pound notes like confetti.

He said: “We want to get these sites built on but we are dealing with public money and have to be hard-headed about it.

“It would also be quite stupid to spend Pendle money until we know whether we can get match funding from the government and how much that might be – if they want us to match their contributions but we have already spent our fund, how silly would we look?

“Meanwhile we are pressing ahead with plans for brownfield housing on sites in many parts of Pendle – Brierfield, Nelson, Colne, and Earby.

“This was an important part of our agreement with the Labour Party for this year and we are pressing on with it.”

In the House of Lords this week, Lord Greaves asked: “What decisions they have made about the criteria for their fund to assist brownfield housing development; and how it will operate.”

Baroness Williams of Trafford replied that the Government intended to create a £1bn fund to focus on unlocking homes on brownfield land for additional housing.”

Lord Greaves replied: “This is all what we already knew. This is very disappointing since it means Pendle Council still has no idea at all when details of the scheme will be known. The Government does not seem to be treating brownfield development as any kind of priority.”

At the full council meeting on Thursday, Pendle Council voted against fracking in Pendle and vowed “to do what it can to stop it happening”.

A motion proposed by Coun. Greaves and seconded by Labour’s Coun. Bob Allen was carried with only the Conservatives voting against.

Coun. Greaves said Pendle Council had backed a motion he moved last year to set up a scrutiny team to look into fracking. An interim report in March set out arguments for and against after meeting with local residents both in favour and against fracking.

He said: “At that time it did not seem likely that licences would be issued in the Burnley and Pendle basin, so the study was put on hold until the Government provided more guidance of its thinking.

“Since the General Election the new Conservative Government has decided to go full speed ahead on fracking and is considering including part of Burnley and Pendle in a new wave of exploration licences.”

He said they could include the countryside to the south of Nelson and Colne. As a result it was, he said, time for the council to make a decision on whether we want fracking.

Coun. Allen said that the promises of jobs were overstated. He claimed there would only be 11 per site over six years. He added that the claims about lower energy bills are “misleading” and said: “On climate change we have got to stop the denials. We have to stop burning fossil fuels not dig up more.”