Pendle parish council chairman quits in planning row

A parish council chairman has resigned following a disagreement on a major planning application.

Friday, 20th December 2013, 10:24 am

Bill Mayor, who has served Goldshaw Booth Parish Council, which covers Newchurch and Spen Brook, for over 10 years, said he had been forced from office by a concerted effort by a few councilors and residents.

The acrimony arose over the parish council’s submission to Pendle Council over a new application for the redevelopment of Spen Brook Mill, which has been derelict since 2006 when its previous occupier, W. Pownall and Son, closed their carpet business.

The site is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and in the Newchurch and Spen Brook Conservation area.

And a recent application to develop the site for commercial useage and the building of 31 houses was recently turned down by the Planning Inspectorate.

A new proposal is currently being considered by Pendle Council.

This is for the conversion of the mill into 10 domestic units and the building of 18 new homes.

Many in the community have expressed satisfaction with the new plans and the attempts the developers have made to accommodate local fears.

At the December parish council meeting Mr Mayor supported the new proposals.

But other councillors decided to defy a vote in favour of the scheme, which they had previously made, and change their minds despite a legal ruling from Pendle Council that the earlier vote must stand.

Mr Mayor said: “It is very sad when a few people, with irrationality and personal insult, choose to oppose the wishes of the majority.

“I cannot understand, and I cannot work with, such people.

“I would certainly question their competence to serve as parish councillors when they allow personal misgivings to overule their wider responsibilities.

“I hope that the electorate understand that and punish them accordingly at the next election and that the wider community make their views known at council meetings. I resign with regret; I have worked hard for the community and have always sought to act in the interests of the whole parish.

“It is a shame when a few unrepresentative and self-interested people can negate all my efforts.

“I am, however, consoled by the many comments of encouragment which I have received and I am very grateful to all those who have supported me so well.”