Rossendale Free Press

A bitter blow for green belt protest

Inspectors back plans for hundreds of homes

- STUART PIKE stuart.pike@menmedia.co.uk @stuartpike­78

ARESIDENTS group chair says they have been left “dismayed” after planning inspectors gave broad backing to controvers­ial plans for hundreds of homes to be built on Green Belt land.

Rossendale’s Local Plan which was first submitted in 2018 - has been approved by the Planning Inspectora­te, subject to dozens of modificati­ons, and is expected to be approved by the full council next Wednesday.

Land is to be released from the Green Belt to deliver five housing sites and three new employment sites.

The borough’s largest housing allocation for 400 new houses is located in Edenfield.

Ian Lord, chair of Edenfield Community Neighbourh­ood Forum, said: “Green Belt is for everyone. There is simply no justificat­ion for destroying it to meet an exaggerate­d housing requiremen­t.

“We are dismayed that our arguments have simply not been addressed, but we hope that at this late stage the council will see reason and protect the Green Belt.”

ARESIDENTS group chair said they have been left “dismayed” after planning inspectors gave broad backing to controvers­ial plans for hundreds of homes to be built on green belt land.

Rossendale’s Local Plan which was first submitted in 2018 and has cost Rossendale council around £740,000 - has been approved by the Planning Inspectora­te, subject to dozens of modificati­ons.

It is expected to be approved by full council next week.

In their findings, published in papers ahead of next Wednesday evening’s crucial meeting, the inspectors conclude that “exceptiona­l circumstan­ces” do exist to justify the release of land from the Green Belt, which covers around 20 per cent of the borough, to deliver identified housing and employment needs in Rossendale.

Land is to be released from the Green Belt to deliver five housing sites land west of Market Street and land east of Market Street in Edenfield; Edenwood Mill; Irwell Vale Mill; and Cowm Water Treatment Works, Whitworth.

Three new employment sites which will involve Green Belt releases include land north of Hud Hey; New Hall Hey and the extension to Mayfield Chicks.

The borough’s largest single-site housing allocation for 400 new houses is located in Edenfield.

Edenfield Community Neighbourh­ood Forum say they have challenged the “disproport­ionate” level of growth, and substantia­l loss of Green Belt at every stage of the four-year process.

Chair Ian Lord said: “Under the plan 456 homes would be built in the village, with 400 on the greenfield site between the A56 bypass and Market Street/Blackburn Road.

“The council propose 50 per cent growth for the village, compared with 10pc growth for the whole borough. More than 1,200 objections were lodged during the public consultati­on in summer 2018.

“The forum recognises the need for housing and doesn’t object to proportion­ate growth in Edenfield.

“But Green Belt is for everyone, not just local residents. It is meant to be permanent. There is simply no justificat­ion for destroying it to meet an exaggerate­d housing requiremen­t.”

Mr Lord questioned the suitabilit­y of the site next to the by-pass.

“As well as the Green Belt there are serious issues around highways infrastruc­ture, education, cultural heritage and land stability, all unresolved,” he added.

“We are dismayed that our arguments have simply not been addressed but we hope that at this late stage the council will see reason and protect the Green Belt.

“Otherwise the plan could be challenged in court and set aside as not being sound.”

The inspectors conclude: “It is establishe­d under Issues 4 and 7 that exceptiona­l circumstan­ces exist to release land from the Green Belt and that the proposed Edenfield allocation­s are justified, effective and consistent with national policy Accordingl­y, it is concluded that the Edenfield housing requiremen­t figure is soundly based.”

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 ?? ?? ● Ian Lord
● Ian Lord
 ?? ?? ●»The land earmarked for homes and (inset) Ian Lord, chair of the Edenfield Community Neighbourh­ood Forum
●»The land earmarked for homes and (inset) Ian Lord, chair of the Edenfield Community Neighbourh­ood Forum

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