A Barrowford councillor has admitted it was a mistake for Pendle Council to include Trough Laithe as the borough’s only strategic housing site.
Coun. Linda Crossley made the admission during a public meeting at Holmefield House in Barrowford where up to 200 locals voiced opposition to a proposed 500 home development on the village’s green fields.
This is bad news for the village and surrounding areas as it sets a dangerous precedence for future green field development and will destroy landscape which can be seen and is prominent from all over the valleyPaul Henderson
Pendle Council agreed to include Trough Laithe as its only strategic housing site in part one of its Core Strategy in September last year.
A planning inspector’s report on whether to adopt the strategy will be considered by councillors in December.
Coun. Crossley said: “It’s a personal opinion, but I think more thought ought to have been given to spreading the load across the borough rather than a lot of the houses in the one area.
“An awful lot of people came to the meeting. It was standing room only. It’s fantastic so many people were there keen to get involved and say what they think.
“I understand everybody’s concerns. There are concerns on school places, both schools in the village are oversubscribed.
“Traffic is an enormous problem and I can’t see any way it can be improved. It can be quite horrendous.
“There were also concerns about medical facilities in the village.
“I can pretty safely say it will not be at the November meeting and I don’t want to commit to a date when it will appear.”
The outline 500 home proposal was put forward by Peel Investments (North) Ltd in July and the application also missed October’s meeting due to amount of preparation required to go into the planning report.
Peel state a housing estate of such a size would bring with it a string of benefits including increased council revenue, new homes bonuses for Pendle Council and Lancashire County Council, the delivery of 20% of the site as affordable homes creation of new jobs in construction.
However, locals are unimpressed and one resident at the public meeting, Paul Henderson, has written to Pendle Council Leader Coun. Mohammed Iqbal and Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson.
Mr Henderson said: “The whole of the village is against the development and following a question from the audience, Cllr Crossley admitted the Borough Council had made a mistake in allowing Trough Laithe to go through as the borough’s only strategic housing site and indeed it should always have been classed as green field.
“However, she also said that we cannot do anything about it and our only recourse is now to fight the planning application.
“This is bad news for the village and surrounding areas as it sets a dangerous precedence for future green field development and will destroy landscape which can be seen and is prominent from all over the valley.
“Surely before it becomes too late, the correct thing for the council to do is admit the mistake formally and ask the inspector for time for the council to review the strategic development plan before it is adopted?
“It is now time for Pendle’s constituents to be heard and for us all to stand as one.”
Another resident, Mark Roberts said: “I read with interest the front page article in Leader Times Newspapers last week, which highlights Pendle Council’s desire to prioritise brownfield sites for redevelopment.
“This flies in the face of their approach to Trough Laithe.”
Dean Langton, Strategic Director for Pendle Council, said: “The inspector’s report on our Core Strategy will be considered at the Council meeting on December 17th.
“At this meeting councillors will decide whether or not they will adopt the strategy.”