Green belt land grab?

22 pieces of land could be given to de­vel­op­ers

Accrington Observer - - FRONT PAGE - JON MACPHER­SON

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.