Planning inspector will decide on ‘Jimmy’s’ homes

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a GOVERNMENT inspector will be called on to determine a controversial proposal to build more than 100 houses on a former Nelson sports field after councillors refused permission for a second time.

Gleeson Homes announced its intention to appeal to the Secretary of State hours after Pendle Council’s development management committee voted unanimously to refuse permission for the development on the old James Nelson’s sports ground, against the recommendation of planning officers, on Monday night.

Councillors said the proposed access to the site along Priory Chase was unsuitable for a scheme of the size planned by Gleeson, with residents claiming there were serious traffic problems in the area whenever there was a snowfall.

Lancashire County Council, however, has raised no objections to the development on highways grounds and has also refused a request by Pendle Council to add Priory Chase to the list of winter gritting routes.

Residents have objected to the plans in the past, saying the slope from Priory Chase into the site would make access difficult for emergency services in icy conditions.

Monday’s refusal was the second time Gleeson has had an application turned down. The first, in April, was on the grounds that there was no provision of open space in the development, an objection which Gleeson overcame by removing two houses and putting in a play area in a revised application which was refused by the council’s Nelson Committee and referred to Monday’s meeting, where Coun. Eileen Ansar said she was unhappy with the size and location of the facility.

She said there were no schools, nurseries, doctors or dentists in the area who could cope with the number of people who would live on an estate of that planned, a point echoed by resident Steve Elliott who said it took him more than two years to find a doctor or dentist after he moved to Priory Chase from Burnley.

In a statement, a Gleeson Homes spokesman said: “We have worked very hard to obtain planning approval on this site and the officers of the council have acted in a very professional manner, for which we thank them.

“It is unfortunate that particular councillors have chosen to ignore the advice of their professional advisors and have refused planning permission against advice.

“We now have no choice other than to appeal to the Secretary of State to overturn the councillors’ decision.”