Rossendale Free Press

Why didn’t they fight plans?


THE row over whether Rossendale Council was right to approve plans for 133 homes on a green field near the Grane reservoirs continues to rumble on.

The (mainly Labour, mainly not local to that part of Rossendale) councillor­s who voted for Taylor Wimpey’s plans, continue to say they had no choice.

The alternativ­e, they say, was to waste hundreds of thousands of pounds defending the council’s decision at an appeal process run by Government.

That assumes the council would have lost the appeal (to be fair, they made that more likely when they put the green field in question in their Local Plan as suitable for housing). But there are signs that planning councillor­s in Rossendale should be prepared to show a bit more grit when it comes to protecting the borough.

For many months, the Government has said developers should prioritise so-called brownfield sites – ie ones previously developed – over green field sites. There are plenty of those in Rossendale, so why not make that point?

Only this week, the Government has also said it wants to empower residents to have their say on what can be developed on their streets. Surely a government which says that would listen to the protest of hundreds who fear the worst for flooding, congestion, local services and the countrysid­e if Taylor Wimpey’s plans went ahead?

Rossendale’s planning councillor­s could have said no.

They could have chosen to fight and take the Government at its word. That they didn’t remains baffling, no matter how forcefully those councillor­s claim otherwise.

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