A Pendle councillor has questioned the motives of Colne Town Council in its bid to create a Neighbourhood Plan.
The town council together with Laneshaw Bridge parish Council and Trawden Forest Parish Council hope to create a plan for the east of Colne and the villages of Laneshaw Bridge and Trawden.
The aims of the East Colne and Villages Neighbourhood Plan include preserving and enhancing heritage assets, landscapes and conservation areas; preserving the area’s rural/semi-rural character, promoting sustainable housing developments of a sympathetic size and promoting local and rural economies.
But Coun. Tony Greaves, who represents Waterside Ward on Pendle Council, has questioned the priorities of Colne Town Council in deciding to set up and lead on a Neighbourhood Plan which he believes only includes a relatively small part of Colne, and one around where the town council’s chairman lives, rather than the rest of the town.
Coun. Greaves said: “Residents around the Lidgett area are perhaps being duped into thinking that this Neighbourhood Plan is the way to stop development on the Windermere Avenue/Rough land. I don’t think it is.
“There may be real dangers in Trawden and Laneshaw Bridge that there will be attempts to move new housing into those villages and away from the edge of Colne.
“It is missing a real opportunity to do neighbourhood planning where it could be really useful, to boost the town centre and regenerate other parts of the town that need it.
“The effort being put into the Plan by Colne Town Council is a misuse of resources when they should be representing the whole of Colne, not one small part.”
Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan’s Steering Group, David Cockburn-Price, has hit back though.
He said the group was “very unhappy” with Coun. Greaves’s comments and that the plan was a bottom up approach for local people backed unanimously by all parish councillors in the area of whichever party.
Mr Cockburn-Price said: “Tony Greaves seems to think that the council should dedicate resources to covering the whole of Colne, but each area is different and the designation of this area in no way precludes future plans in other areas.
“All areas have needs, issues and opportunities and we are taking action in our area, acting as a trailblazer for the Colne area, hence our disappointment that he seeks to squash our efforts with negativity from the sidelines.
“It is also worth pointing out that, as Colne Town Council will apply for grants of £9,000 to £15,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government, no precept money is expected to be spent on this exercise.”
The proposed Neighbourhood Plan area for “East Colne and Villages” includes all of the parishes of Trawden and Laneshaw Bridge, the Boulsworth Ward within Colne’s boundaries and the eastern portion of the Horsfield Ward of Colne.
The proposed area has a population of approximately 7,000, roughly a third of the overall Colne and District area. Public consultation on the plan finishes on May 6th.