L&B Creates a New Circular Walk for Colne
LOCAL charity, Lidgett & Beyond, is in the process of creating a new circular walk for Colne called The East Colne Way. Councillors for Horsfield and Boulsworth awarded it the lion’s share of the funding required to set the walk up.
“It’s been quite a challenge to formulate the route in the depths of winter and in this I have been ably assisted by fellow L&B supporter John Birchenough”, said Mark Chung, a member of the Charity’s management team. “I’d like to thank our councillors for supporting us and also Tom Partridge, Pendle Council’s Countryside Access Officer, and Pendle Council’s Tourism Department which has agreed to supply us with the mapping and also promote the new route for us.”
The five mile route starts and ends at The Lakeside Café, Ball Grove Park and is a scenic ramble over The Lidgett Triangle and The Upper Rough. The new walk is the first in Colne for many years. The walk will also be promoted by Colne Town Council and will be recognised in its emerging Neighbourhood Plan.
David Cockburn-Price, Chairman of the Trustees for L&B explained: “We are all going to have to muck in now whether with drills, rawl plugs and waymarkers, or by researching the area’s history for the information boards. As a charity we aim to protect and enhance our beautiful area and improve access to it too.”
MEMBERS of Lidgett and Beyond have reacted with sadness and fond memories to the death in late 2017 of Owen Oliver, its co-founder and president.
David Cockburn-Price, Chairman of the L&B Trustees, commented: “Owen had been involved in the fight to save the Lidgett Triangle and The Rough for over thirty years. This involved fighting planning applications in both the 80s and 90s, organising predecessor action groups and supporting the setting up of the Conservation Area. More recently, he was a driving force behind Lidgett & Beyond and our campaign to defend the area against encroachment from wind turbines and other unsuitable development plans.”
Lidgett and Beyond members have been posting on Facebook and sending e-mails remembering Owen.
David Cockburn-Price added: “His knowledge, record-keeping, intelligence, enthusiasm and zest for life proved invaluable to us all. No-one enjoyed going from house to house delivering our leaflets and gathering information more than Owen – I think it was all the chatting with neighbours he loved the most and he simply swept us along with him at times.”
Other groups also benefitted from Owen’s input over the years, including The West Craven Tennis Club and the Pendle Youth Orchestra, where he was also President for many years.
John Birchenough, L&B trustee, said: “Owen believed he could make a difference and, through his energy and commitment to the cause, he did.”
THE PUBLIC INQUIRIES to develop a beautiful, largely unspoilt slice of countryside, known locally as The Rough, just outside the edge of the dense urban settlement of East Colne with either 90 or 270 houses are now complete.
The Wilson Room in Nelson Town Hall was the setting for the six day hearing overseen by Government Planning Inspector, Mike Robins. He heard evidence from the appellant, Junction Properties Ltd, a Guernsey-based offshore trust believed to be owned by local property speculators who will sell it to developers to build, and from the defendants, the Lidgett & Beyond Charity and Pendle Borough Council. The original applications were unanimously rejected by the Council’s Development Management and Colne Area Committee last Spring.
At a public meeting in Colne Town Hall on Tuesday night, the Inspector heard 20 informed and impassioned speeches from older and younger people talking about life on and around The Rough. Andrew Stephenson MP opened by praising the Council’s efforts in getting planning permissions granted for nearly 2,000 homes, with a further 2,000 potential brownfield developments being the subject of initiatives to bring them forward. He believed that this was clearly an example of developers landbanking sites and the general depressed state of the local housing market.
The audience of over 100, with standing room only, then heard anecdotes which brought the character and value of The Rough to life from Geoff Crambie, Barry Birtwistle, Elizabeth Lane, Kevin Hey, Jerry Stanford, Ella Rogers, Christopher Richards and others. The Rough was affectionately described as a “Rough Diamond” and its value was highlighted in educating local people in rural activities and life lessons and providing a much-needed recreational resource for hundreds of years. The risks of the development, particularly in respect of dangers to children going to and from Park High School from increased traffic, were also highlighted.
Junction Property maintains there is an under-supply of housing sites in the Borough and development of The Rough should be brought forward as harm to heritage and landscape were overstated. Barristers for the Lidgett & Beyond Charity and Pendle Borough Council countered by highlighting the comments made by the public and the overriding principle should be that it is only sustainable sites should come forward and that The Rough was certainly not one of them.
Chairman of L&B’s Trustees, David Cockburn-Price said: “Local people have yet again lent terrific support to our campaign to save The Rough and the meeting in the Town Hall was a memorable night. Now the Inspector will probably take a couple of months to decide on the Appeals, so L&B’s supporters will all have their fingers crossed and we will continue with our fundraising activities to help protect, enhance and improve access to this treasured area.”
THE APPEAL to develop a beautiful, largely unspoilt slice of countryside just outside the edge of the dense urban settlement of East Colne is finally underway in Nelson Town Hall, having been unanimously rejected by Pendle Council’s Development Management and Colne Area Committee last Spring.
The area, known locally as The Rough, covering over 13 hectares of green fields off Castle Road, Windermere Avenue and Skipton Old Road in Colne is considered by local people to be special, due to its landscape views, its heritage and its recreational use by ramblers and dog walkers. The two Appeals are being fought by Junction Properties Ltd, a Guernsey-based offshore trust believed to be owned by local property speculators, who want to sell it so developers can build either 90 houses on the south-west corner or 270 houses on the whole site.
Junction Property maintains there is an under-supply of housing sites in the borough and development of the Rough would simply be a ‘logical extension’ of the nearby town. However, the Lidgett and Beyond Charity (L&B), the local community group with nearly 1,000 supporters, has joined Pendle Council to defend the Appeal and show that any development is unsustainable based on its harm to the local landscape, heritage and the Lidgett & Bents Conservation Area, and the local highways network.
Chairman of L&B’s Trustees, David Cockburn-Price said: “Our aim to preserve, enhance and improve access to the heritage, wildlife and general character of this special place for human and animal residents and visitors and their future generations. Local people have lent terrific support to our campaign and our fundraising activities. They can lend extra support in the Wilson Room at Nelson Town Hall during the day, for the rest of this week and on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. People are welcome to come and go. In addition, local people are being given the chance to speak at an evening meeting with the Planning Inspector at Colne Town Hall next Tuesday night from 7-9 p.m.”
The Planning Inspector, Mike Robins, visited the Rough today to see for himself the special quality and accessibility of the area and looked at visualisations with planning consultants of what it could become if the Appeal was passed.
THE STEERING Group of the East Colne & Villages Neighbourhood Plan has announced that its first Plan is now to be abandoned.
David Cockburn-Price, Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan’s Steering Group and Treasurer of the Lidgett & Beyond Charity, explained: “The area designated made a lot of sense geographically and in most respects was a sensible one for setting policies, but when the Group started looking deeper into the policies for land development, in particular, some unanswerable questions and potential incompatibility issues began to arise. A lot of the work we have done over the last year has whetted the appetite of local people for having a more proactive say about how their area develops. In fact, Trawden Forest Parish Council has already resolved to progress a simpler and more focussed Neighbourhood Plan in their area.
“I’m very pleased to have inspired and energised people in this way. With the official public consultation and local planning authority review underway, I’d heard of a large number of letters and emails of support. The task now will be to keep that Localism momentum going and to keep working to protect and enhance what’s special about this area.”
We Need Your Help to Sustainably Grow and Protect our Beautiful Area!
You may have heard that local councillors want to designate East Colne and the Villages of Trawden and Laneshaw Bridge as an area for a Neighbourhood Plan.
Letters of Support & More Information
All public comments must be received by Friday 6th May 2016 and then the Area will go in front of Pendle Borough Council’s Executive for a decision. Although we have the support of Colne Town Council, Trawden Parish Council and Laneshaw Bridge Parish Council, we need to get a really good response from members of the public to get our Neighbourhood Plan off the ground. We hope to develop a Plan, in consultation with local people, that protects what is special about this area whilst allowing it to grow and develop sustainably.
Any comments on the suitability of the proposed plan area, the proposed neighbourhood planning body and the idea of the plan itself should be made to:
Your response doesn’t have to be long or detailed – we just need to know we have support from residents of the area and anyone else who’s interested. If you can spare five minutes to fire off an e-mail or a postcard/letter, we would be grateful.
No council taxpayers’ money is being spent on the Neighbourhood Plan as, once the area is designated, we will apply for a grant from Central Government.
What is Neighbourhood Planning?
Neighbourhood Planning was introduced in 2011 through the Localism Act. It allows local residents and businesses to have their own planning policies in a Neighbourhood Plan that reflect their priorities, deliver tangible local benefits and have real weight in planning decisions. This is the first Neighbourhood Plan in Colne, and the second in Pendle.
In simple terms, a Neighbourhood Plan is:
Lidgett & Beyond has been successfully registered as a charity (reg number 1163523). This will help our focus on our charitable purposes of protecting and enhancing East Colne & links to neighbouring areas (Laneshaw Bridge & Trawden), as well as helping the fundraising (extra Gift Aid receipts) we will be doing soon so that we can fight the appeals with PendleBC against the proposed developments on The Rough.
For information, the appeals against the Council's decisions to reject the 90 and 270 house developments were submitted by Junction Property / Barton Willmore to the Planning Inspectorate on 6th August. It is currently taking 6-10 weeks for applications to be processed to go live. They have requested a public inquiry hearing to take place in February 2016 - everyone be ready to play your part in fighting to defeat the appeals!!!
Speaking of which, we'll be engaging in lots of fundraising activities to raise funds to hire our own consultants and get some legal advice. If any of you are experts or experienced in fundraising, or you have some good ideas for activities you/we could do in the period from now until Jan/Feb, then please get in touch.
LIDGETT & BEYOND says HANDS OFF THE ROUGH!
My last blog detailed the importance of the Core Strategy for Pendle 2016/2030 and the urgency to get it approved by the Planning Inspectorate. That exercise should strengthen L&B’s case and is now well on its way. Target finalisation time is September 2015. Pendle Planning newsletter “FRAMEWORK” issue number 32 gives the latest position. It is available on line via the Pendle Planning Portal and in hard copy.
There has been so much positive Brown Field news from L&B HQ recently. The sheer force of the L&B movement and its lobbying up to national level is helping to edge us towards reuse of Brown Field sites in Pendle.
Right now, the most urgent job for us all is to resubmit objections against development on The Rough. This is a follow up call to David Cockburn-Price’s rallying cry of two weeks ago. We know that the applicants have withdrawn Skipton Old Road (SOR) as a vehicular access for part of the two sites and has made an amendment to the access to Castle Road. They have also altered their heritage statement. Therefore it is very important for our campaign that everyone who has objected to the SOR vehicular access or the heritage aspect should resubmit their objections omitting SOR objection but including any heritage concern you still have, plus all the other objections you have made. The addresses for your objections are at the end of this blog.
The applicants say they have abandoned SOR for vehicular access because of residents’ concerns. We suggest you take them up on this and say you are even more concerned other problems as well:
Submission: Submit two separate documents to arrive in Planning Department by 17th March:
Via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Via post: Planning and Building Control, Town Hall, Nelson BB9 7LG.
Letters can also be handed in at Colne Town Hall to go through the internal mail, but allow one extra day for delivery.
We believe they are still aiming for a 1st April date to bring this discussion to Colne Area Committee. Happy objecting and thanks again for supporting L&B,