Response to consultation for 172 new homes in Colne overwhelmingly negative
A consultation into proposals to build 172 new homes on vacant greenfield land has been met with overwhelming negativity.
Members of Lidgett and Beyond, a countryside charity in Colne, claim their town is “under attack” after developers launched the consultation on plans to build 172 new homes on vacant land close to a high school.
The land, known locally as Upper Rough, is being earmarked for development by Accrue Capital, who want to build 172 homes on the site near Windermere Avenue, essentially creating a “‘new community’ for the town”.
The developers have created a virtual exhibition of what the new community, called “Colne Valley View”, would look like once finished, and last month invited people to have their say on the proposals.
Lidgett and Beyond, the East Colne countryside charity and community group, asked its members to respond with their views on Accrue Capital’s bid, claiming more than two hundred people sent comments to the developers.
Lidgett and Beyond (L&B) also asked anyone responding to send their comments to the charity.
Many of the e-mails received by L&B, a selection of which have also been sent to the Lancashire Telegraph, scorned London-based Accrue Capital for not knowing that the ‘Colne Valley’ is near Huddersfield, and that residents of Colne call the vacant green space “The Rough” or “Upper Rough”.
One respondent said: “I wish to strongly object to the proposal to build Colne Valley View (Colne Valley is near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire by the way, so perhaps you can take it there instead).
“As a local resident in this area, I don’t want our lovely countryside developed into housing estates and will join other neighbours in actively objecting to this highly unsuitable proposal.
“Please reconsider and find an alternative area to develop, that doesn’t swallow up Pendle’s precious countryside (it has plenty of brownfield sites to have a look at).
“Rest assured, local residents like myself, will fight very hard to prevent this unwelcome development from going ahead just as we did back in 2015/16.”
While another resident wrote: “As you will no doubt be aware, permission for development of housing on The Rough has previously been refused.
“Reasons outlined by the planning inspector in 2016 resonate strongly with me and with my family as the open area of The Rough is important to us.
“As laid out by the Planning Inspector, the public benefits of a housing development here ‘would not outweigh the harm to the significance of the heritage asset that would result’.
“The landscape is an integral part of the cognitive processes involved in creating memories, living and re-living experiences. Such experiences include escapism, time spent with family and friends and the sharing of stories about landscape.
“The culture of the landscape is communicated through language; language that includes the experience of landscape itself. Places like The Rough play a fundamental role in the production of cultural heritage.
“For Colne, they contribute crucially to a common language of identity and community. Your development will alter The Rough completely and will destroy the language of landscape that is produced there.
“It is my strongly held opinion that your proposed development should not go ahead because it would represent a destruction of existing and future heritage for the local areas, the destruction of a crucial resource for the health and wellbeing of local residents and the destruction of a habitat for endangered birds.”
And another commented: “Colners need affordable homes, not this kind of executive development that is only affordable by the privileged few.
“There are several viable brownfield sites identified in the emerging Colne Local Plan.
“You should reconsider a development of ecologically sustainable, affordable homes on one of these sites if you genuinely have any interest in the welfare and future of the people of Bonnie Colne on the Hill (not Colne Valley which is actually in Yorkshire).”
With one person stating: “Another of your outstanding claims that access points off Castle Road and Windermere Avenue ‘will have minimal impact on traffic congestion’ is an absolute ludicrous claim.
“172 new houses means at least 344 cars would possibly all be trying to access Byron Road via Venables Avenue and Windermere Avenue every morning or access Skipton Road via Castle Road. This would create absolute chaos on our already overcrowded roads.
“Where are all the proposed new residents going to find a doctor or a dentist, and where will all the children find a place in already full schools?”
And another resident said: “There are empty properties and brownfield sites available in Colne.
“There is over seven years supply of housing available, and besides this, The Rough is proposed Local Green Space. It is not necessary to build here, nor is it wanted by the local community.”
Mark Chung, who is on the Lidgett and Beyond management team and is also a trustee of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and of the Ramblers Association, said: “Colne is under attack from housing developers.
“This was a tight consultation timeframe and we are immensely proud so many people took time out of their busy lives to make their feelings known.
“Many of these consultations rely on apathy and now this company can see that our community is far from apathetic about this attack to an area that, along with the Lidgett Triangle, has been termed the Green Lungs of Colne.”
The next stage in the process is for the developer to send their application to Pendle Borough Council, which will be validated and then placed on the planning website for the public to comment on.
A decision will then be made to approve or deny the plans in due course.
The consultation also led to a significant boost to L&B’s membership, so that now the charity boasts more than 600 members.
L&B has a Facebook page called Lidgett Bents and Beyond, a website: www.lidgettandbeyond.org and a Twitter feed under the handle @lidget&beyond.
A spokesperson for Accrue Capital said: “We are very grateful for the public participation in our consultation on the plans for 172 high-quality new homes in Pendle.
“Leaflets were delivered to almost 2,000 properties surrounding the proposed site, as well as social media adverts that stemmed a 5-mile radius around the site reaching 41,680 local residents to inform them of the consultation and to hear their views.
“We received 311 pieces of feedback, which has been extremely helpful in determining aspects of our plans that could be improved and aspects that residents liked.
“This feedback is being considered by the expert project team and will inform the plans that are submitted to the Council in due course.”