AMBITIOUS plans to build a tourist attraction in Salterforth have been rejected by councillors.
After objections had been lodged by residents and environment agencies delivered scathing responses to proposals, Pendle Council’s West Craven Committee refused the application to build 12 mobile homes and a fishing lake at land off Salterforth Lane.
Members agreed with the planning department’s findings that the development would be visually intrusive to the open countryside area as the ground level of the site would be raised by up to 2.3m.
Speaking at the committee meeting, Alan Kinder, agent for the applicant, admitted the scheme had proven controversial, but asked councillors to postpone a decision to allow amended plans to be submitted addressing some of the concerns. He said: “The lodges could be set at the ground level rather than elevated as they are in the current plans.
“A late meeting with the drainage board has revealed a solution to water concerns could be found but requires further technical research.
“I understand the concerns but feel there would be ways of addressing these issues, particularly the impact on the landscape.”
Objecting residents were unsympathetic to the developer’s request.
Steve King said: “If it was so important the applicants would have done their homework before tonight.”
Another resident was concerned a proposed landscaping scheme to screen the development would take too long to mature.
Steven Duckworth added: “Another big worry is what would stop the applicant coming back in future years with stages two and three and extending it to a size that would be refused were it asked for in one go now? These schemes have a habit of encroaching further.”
Although the Lancashire County Council Highways department had said it had no objections to Salterforth Lane acting as an access road to the site, residents had also said the road was already stretched to the limit in the amount of traffic it could handle.
Julie Grimshaw said: “I am concerned about the safety of pedestrians, particularly my children, and other pupils from the primary school.
“There are no paths on that lane at all and I don’t think it is suitable to take the extra traffic. I also believe a rat run from Barnoldswick to Salterforth would be produced and how would we stop that?”
Coun. Allan Buck said: “I do support farm diversification, particularly for tourism purposes.
“There are a lot of small farms in West Craven that are struggling and have to find different ways of making a living; so in general I would support farmers coming forward with tourism schemes if they fit in with the sites.
“This one I think is a good scheme on the wrong site. It is going to be exposed right at the side of the canal, one of our main tourist sites.
“We do want to encourage tourists to use the local shops and pubs, but I don’t think this scheme fits.
“I think it says a lot when British Waterways object because they very rarely comment on applications and there is a mass of comments from them.
“There are also ancient hedgerows along Salterforth Lane and they would be extremely difficult to replace.”
Coun. David Whipp said he was disappointed with the designs for the mobile homes submitted.
He said: “They don’t look to be like the high quality holiday accommodation you would expect.”