Row over Colne nursery’s planning permission

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Residents have accused Lancashire County Council of a “cynical intent” to sign through a planning application for an extension at a Colne nursery school.

Rodney Rostron, who lives in Bence Street, said letters about the planned development at Newtown Nursery School had only been sent to 10 properties in the area.

He also said the development notice was posted outside the school just before the start of the Easter holidays.

Letters of objection have been sent by residents to the applicants, Lancashire County Council, in which they point out their concerns at the notification of the application.

“The parents were not, as far as I can tell, told of the plans and the expiry date for the objections was one day after the children returned after the holidays,” he said.

“That strikes me as being a very cynical intent merely to ‘sign through’ the permission.

“The planning permission sought is for an increase in capacity for the Early Years Centre at the nursery – laudable in isolation, but with safety and traffic congestion implications which are being ignored.

“These implications were raised before the first extension some years ago and before the health centre was even in consideration.

“Unfortunately, the immediate area is already having to put up with the arrival and departure of up to 100 children per day, many of who are not from the locality with a significant proportion arriving by car.

“Northern Life is flourishing, with their parking already encroaching on residents.

“The health centre is about to open, with no provision for staff. The traffic survey for that was four years old when used for the decision.

“We understand the police have this year banned civilian cars from their own parking. The evidence sits daily on the NHS car park.

“The risk of a child being seriously hurt increases with each car movement in front of the school gates - something forced upon all by the lack of ‘dropping off’ parking.

“The parents also, in the main, are exasperated by the situation. Added to all that, teachers have had all their parking removed - at last count around 14 cars. The residents of Newtown Street have a small car park with six places for 11 houses which is used by parents, provoking verbal of residents when they protest.

“The entrance is frequently blocked, preventing access for emergency vehicles.”

Coun. Tony Greaves, in whose Waterside Ward the nursery stands, said Pendle Council had made an objection to the application on behalf of the residents on the grounds of parking.

He said there was a genuine problem with traffic and parking in the area and said the council’s Colne and District Committee had asked for a report on the situation once the health centre had opened.