Green belt land grab?
22 pieces of land could be given to developers
TWENTY-TWO pieces of green belt land could be handed over to developers, it has been revealed.
A new report has classed the areas as making a ‘ weak overall contribution to the green belt’ and council bosses say it could be used for development. Under the proposals, land in Accrington, Baxenden, Clayton-le-Moors, Oswaldtwistle, Church, Rishton, Altham, Great Harwood, Huncoat, Altham West and Knuzden could all be built upon.
It comes after it was revealed that up to 6,000 new homes could be built in Hyndburn in the next 15 years. Officials say the 22 parcels of land could be offered to developers if they demonstrate ‘exceptional circumstances’.
But council leader Miles Parkinson said he wants to protect the green belt around township boundaries. Tory leader Coun Tony Dobson said: “I’m sure it will create a full and frank conversation.”
PIECES of protected green belt land across Hyndburn could be handed over to developers.
Twenty-two parcels of land across the borough have been identified as having a ‘weak overall contribution to the green belt’ and could be used for development.
These include areas in Accrington, Baxenden, Claytonle-Moors, Oswaldtwistle, Church, Rishton, Altham, Great Harwood, Huncoat, Altham West and Knuzden.
It comes after Hyndburn council launched a major review of its Local Plan, assessing how many new houses and employment sites it will need to provide in future. Under the options being considered between 1,200 and 6,340 new homes could be built in the borough in the next 15 years.
A new report commissioned by the council identifies areas considered to give a ‘weak overall contribution to the green belt’ which the council says could be developed under exceptional circumstances.
But council leader Miles Parkinson said the aim of the report is to protect the green belt around township boundaries to safeguard against ‘urban sprawl’.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting this week, he said: “The green belt assessment hasn’t been done for a number of years. It’s a very important document because the controlling group has been very specific that we want to protect the green belt around the urban areas of the townships.
“I would like to reassure the residents because a number of years ago they gave their views specifically that they didn’t want the green belt to come under threat from major development.
“This report goes some way to make sure that’s delivered within the borough.”
The green belt assessment aims to provide the council with an independent assessment of how green belt contributes to life in the borough to help the council decide whether the release of sites is necessary.
The review also identifies 22 parcels of green belt which make a ‘strong’ contribution, and 42 parcels which make a ‘moderate’ contribution to the borough’s green belt.
A council report said: “The outcomes from the assessment do not mean that certain parcels should or should not be released from the green belt. Should the council consider that green belt boundaries need to be altered, an ‘exceptional circumstances’ case will need to be developed.
“The lower performing parcels have the greatest potential to be considered for release, subject to other evidence in the site selection process.
“Higher performing green belt parcels can also be considered for release, albeit a greater ‘exceptional circumstances case’ will need to be made.”
Tory leader Coun Tony Dobson said: “We look forward to residents’ contribution and I’m sure it will create a full and frank conversation as and when it goes to council.”
Business gets green belt go-ahead -
ONE of Hyndburn’s biggest manufacturers has been given the go-ahead to expand onto protected green belt land.
What More UK Ltd, which employs around 250 people with a £45 million annual turnover, submitted plans to Hyndburn council to build a new 200,000sqft warehouse at their base on Altham Business Park.
The scheme involves building on 1.34 hectares of green belt land, however planning officers said the award-winning company had demonstrated the proposals should be approved under ‘very special circumstances’.
No objections were received and councillors unanimously backed the application at a planning meeting this week.
What More UK have been using a unit at Junction 7 Business Park in Clayton-le-Moors and say the new warehouse will save them £80,000 a year and ‘ vastly reduce transportation costs’.
Council leader and ward councillor Miles Parkinson said the investment from What More shows that ‘Hyndburn is open for business’.
Speaking in support of the application at the meeting, he said: “Altham Business Park is one of our strategic employments sites and this is a planning application which will create employment and manufacturing.
“I’m pleased that we have got businesses coming forward and investing considerably in the borough in creating employment. That’s what we need.”
Coun Tim O’Kane added: “I’m a big believer in protecting the green belt but one of the best ways you can protect it is to make sure that one of your major employers doesn’t have to relocate somewhere else.
“They are extending their own site and showing commitment to their own workers. I can’t think of any more special circumstances that you could come up with.”
What More UK bosses are also celebrating after two of their upcycled prod- ucts were shortlisted for the prestigious DIY Week Awards 2018.
Company director Tony Grimshaw OBE said: “I am proud of our team for all of their effort and hard work in creating this revolutionary new Upcycled product that has allowed us to be shortlisted in the DIY Week Awards this year. We created Upcycled as a means to combat the January plastic importation ban introduced by China.
“It’s an honour for this to be recognised by such a prestigious award nomination.”
Above, land identified as having a ‘weak overall contribution to the green belt’, (clockwise from top left) near Baxenden, Oswaldtwistle, Great Harwood, Clayton-leMoors, four sites in Altham, Huncoat and Rishton
Council leader Miles Parkinson
What More UK’s map showing the plans for the greenbelt land in Altham
Tony Grimshaw OBE