Residents united to oppose 200-plus homes plans on Nelson-Colne border

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RESIDENTS have set up a working group to fight against a planning application for a major housing development on the Colne-Nelson boundary, which is expected to be submitted in the next few weeks.

Persimmon Homes, which owns an area of land covering the former Colne railway sidings stretching to Briercliffe Avenue, is rumoured to be planning a 200-home development.

And there are fears further homes could be built on adjoining land at Gib Hill, currently owned by Pendle Council, and said to be worth several million pounds.

Several years ago, residents formed protest groups Get Knotted (Colne) and Residents Against Gibhill Exploitation (Nelson) to defeat developers.

But Coun. Tony Greaves told those attending a public meeting at Primet Community Centre on Wednesday the then Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, had only turned the plans down because there were thought to be sufficient houses in Pendle that could be renovated under the Housing Market Renewal programme that existed at the time.

He said: “Now that has ended, Persimmon is coming galloping towards us.

“Pendle planning officers have already been talking to them.”

Azhar Ali, a leading campaigner for RAGE in 2005, warned residents: “It will be a long haul, but it is a fight worth fighting.”

Parts of Gib Hill were classified as a biological heritage site some years ago, and Mr Ali said people should lobby councillors in a renewed attempt to have land at Gib Hill classed as a nature reserve.

“There is a real danger that if you do not do that, it will be classed as surplus to the council’s requirements,” he said.

He said the Lancashire Wildlife Trust was prepared to support RAGE’s case.