A controversial 29-house plan in Barnoldswick which attracted a public protest has been unanimously rejected by councillors.
The application for land off Long Ing Lane in Barnoldswick came in front of Pendle Council’s West Craven Committee.
Refusal means the plans will go to the Development Management Committee.
Although it is for access only at this stage, West Craven councillors felt that the proposed 29 properties which could be applied for at a later stage was unsuitable for the location and voted against it despite a planning officer recommendation for approval.
The proposal for refusal, moved by Coun. David Whipp, was on grounds that it would impact highway safety, that the application extends beyond Barnoldswick’s settlement boundary, it would create an overbearing impact on neighbouring properties due to proximity and scale and the principle of building on private road and footpath was unacceptable.
Robert Crolla, planning agent for developers Stirling Properties, received a grilling from councillors after he invited approval as recommended.
Coun. David Whipp questioned the viability of the project after Mr Crolla confirmed that the developer could not afford to pay £5,000 to upgrade two bus stops close to Silentnight or approximately £29,000 in section 106 compensation for loss of open space.
Peter Crompton, speaking against the application, and on behalf of 500 people who signed the “Save Barlick’s green fields” petition, said that “no matter how honeyed the words of planners” residents would “never be convinced that they will be robbed of their present environmental amenity”.
And Mr Crompton said the same residents “will never be convinced that a new road serving 29 homes and feeding into such a minor road as Long Ing Lane will not seriously elevate the risk of accidents and injury to those in vehicles and on foot”.
Pendle Council’s Planning Manager Neil Watson said there was nothing in planning terms to refuse the application and said that figures around viability had been scrutinised by a third party.
Mr Watson said it was for the developer to be aware of the issue around long-standing footpaths and would be at the developer’s risk should they be confirmed as rights of way.
But Coun. Ken Hartley said 20% of the site lay outside the Barnoldswick settlement boundary and accused the applicant of “refusing to acknowledge nationally recommended compensation for developments of this size”.
Coun. Hartley said the committee had fought “long and hard” for traffic safety in Barnoldswick and said it was “beyond belief” councillors were being asked to approve a plan that would create a five-lane junction without any road modification.
Coun. Jennifer Purcell warned: “Somebody will be killed there. I don’t think officers have come out at the right time (of day) to see for themselves.”
Coun. Whipp raised several issues during lengthy debates, including that deeds of residents of Moss Side showed that they owned part of the land that the developer planned to build on.