A community group fearful that a Colne beauty spot could be thwarted by a 270-home development are urging “the entire town” to get behind them.
Lidgett and Beyond were informed of upcoming plans for “The Rough” after a phone call was made to County Coun. Paul White by the joint owner of Community Consulting, Lilian Coulson, on Monday.
The group, who campaign for protection and greater accessibilty to the local area, say they are “worried” about the proposals for land behind Favordale and off Windermere Avenue, between Castle Road and Skipton Old Road. And they are now encouraging their 150 current members to go out and recruit more neighbours.
Secretary of Lidgett and Beyond and town councillor for Lidgett, Sarah Cockburn-Price, said: “The bottom line is that potentially this beautiful area will be lost to Colne and be replaced by suburban sprawl.”
“The Rough”, popular locally for dog walking, rambling and recreation, is part of the informally named “Green Lung of Colne”. The area borders the Green Belt, and part of it lies within the Lidgett Conservation Area.
It was expected that it was going to be earmarked for development after a spate of surveyors were seen in the area at the end of last year.
Chairman of Lidgett and Beyond Owen Oliver said: “We are very worried. Of particular concern is that Pendle’s Core Strategy and Land Allocation will not be adopted until at least next summer, leaving us vulnerable to monstrous developments like this that are completely out of scale with our area.”
Favordale resident, and former Principal of Nelson and Colne College, Alison Birkinshaw, said: “Lidgett and Beyond has a healthy membership and a modest fighting fund, but it is clear we need to marshal our forces now. What most people don’t realise is that developers throw huge sums of money to develop profitable green sites like this and they only have to win once and the land is gone forever. The developer can appeal and appeal, but community groups like ours must win every single time on robust planning grounds and we have no right of appeal.”
County Coun. Paul White has said that councillors will be working with residents over the coming months to look at the proposals.
He added: “This is a very special piece of land to those who live at that side of Colne. It’s a green lung right on the edge of town, so it is no surprise that people hold it so dear, and want it protected. “270 houses is almost the same size as Laneshaw Bridge.”
And Coun. Ann Kerrigan said: “I think that the land off Windermere Avenue is very beautiful, sets off the most wonderful views of our landscape and is a jewel in Horsfield. It would be a crying shame if this is destroyed in order to allow a developer to make money out of housing.”
Community Consulting, speaking on behalf of the applicant, confirmed that a public exhibition will be held in Colne in early February. More information on the plans, applicant, and consultation will follow in the coming weeks.
To join Lidgett and Beyond email firstname.lastname@example.org and for more information visit www.lidgettandbeyond.co.uk