‘Jimmy’s’ housing decision put on hold

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A MAJOR debate on plans to build more than 100 homes on the former James Nelson Sports Club site in Nelson has led to the decision being deferred.

The Gleeson Homes application was considered by Pendle Council’s Nelson Committee on Monday, with a lot of members of the public giving their views on the issue.

The sloping, open grassland site off Barkerhouse Road is just about a mile from Nelson Town Centre. The plan is to build 106 homes - two to three bedroom semi-detached houses, terraces and four-bedroom detached house.

Access to the homes would be via Priory Chase and the site includes a “Byway Open to All Traffic”, better known simply as a “BOAT”. The plan is to improve it by making it better for walking and cycling.

In the long debate at Monday’s meeting, resident Mr Peter Flanagan pointed out that vehicles like cranes and lorries would be passing lots of homes. And he also said there was nowhere for children to play there.

Military historian Mr Fred Stringer said: “I want to remind everybody this site was previously a war memorial. Amos Nelson, a prominent mill owner, built a sporting complex after the First World War in memory of those of his workers who had died in the war.”

Mr Stringer has suggested that a war memorial should be created on the site, by the main entrance. He had been told it might not be possible, but Gleesons had suggested they would be pleased to erect it if they got planning permission, so he said: “If planning permission is granted, I would be pleased to assist in help design it.”

Mrs Pamela Cork called for the plan to be adjourned. She questioned the plans for the BOAT. She said: “The intention is to improve it for cyclists and pedestrians not motor vehicles - how can you do that?” And she said potholes there were a problem. “These are very important points to us. I trust you will all take these in mind before you make the decision.”

And the Rev. Lisl von Schweinitz said cars would have a big impact. She felt it was likely many houses would have three or four cars. “I think it is unrealistic to say 1.5 per house,” she added.

She also mentioned that two hen houses had been damaged by passing lorries, and she said: “It is important we don’t see lots of heavy lorries coming across the top of Windsor Street.”

And she said there was nowhere for young children and young teenagers to play. “It needs to be considered that there should be fewer houses and more space for children,” she concluded. She called for a deferment.

Mr Steve Gamble, speaking for the applicant, said: “It is not possible to make everybody happy - you cannot do everything that everyone wants.” He suggested that the council’s officers had been very professional in assessing the plan. They recommended approval.

Coun. Eileen Ansar said: “We have major concerns about this development. It’s going to have a major impact on the area.” She even question where children who would live there would be able to go to school. And she concluded: “I think it should go to deferral.”

Coun. David Whalley said the number of houses would have a traffic impact on Barkerhouse Road. “It’s a busy road now. The traffic from these are all going to be going up and down Barkerhouse Road.” And he said: “I can’t support this application at the moment.”

And Coun. Sheena Dunn said parking on Barkerhouse Road meant it made it difficult to emerge safely from junctions like Larch Street. She felt: “Why not put a park on the site and build houses somewhere else?”

In the end, members agreed to have talks with Gleesons and the residents and so adjourned the decision to the next meeting.