Inspector’s post-hearings letter now published

Green Belt fields in Edenfield after silage making

The Inspectors’ post hearings letter mentioned in our last update now been published on the Council website.

EL6.017a Post Hearing Letter | Rossendale Borough Council

It is not good news for Edenfield. The Inspectors have provisionally accepted the Council’s position that there are exceptional circumstances to justify the release of Green Belt land for development and so the 456 houses allocated to Edenfield in the Plan will be unchanged. The Forum has long argued that there is no need to release Green Belt for development as there are more than enough brownfield and greenfield sites available in the Borough. We have supported our arguments with an enormous amount of detail but all of this seems to have been ignored.

The letter also specifically mentions Housing Allocation H72 which covers the three sites west of Market Street with a total allocation of 400 houses. There is an acknowledgment that there are issues related to heritage, schooling and highways but that these can be addressed when the Plan is updated. These are all issues raised by the Forum in our representations on the Plan so we await the proposals.

Needless to say we are extremely disappointed with the Inspector’s comments but the fight is far from over and we are now exploring how best to continue our challenge to the proposed over-development of Edenfield

The Council have also published “Potential Compensation Measures for Green Belt Release” which includes proposed measures to compensate Edenfield should a lot of land in the village be released from Green Belt for development. There is a public consultation on this document which ends on 28th July.

Both of these documents and other information related to the Local Plan can also be accessed through the Local Examination page on the Council website:

Local Plan Examination | Emerging Local Plan | Rossendale Borough Council

Update on Forum activities – 27th June 2021

Rossendale Draft Local Plan      

It took a lot longer than expected for the Council to complete their responses to the Inspectors’ Schedule of Actions which had been issued after the Examination Hearings in October 2019. They were eventually completed in February of this year with the consultation on them finishing on 22nd March. The Forum has reviewed all the responses in detail and submitted comprehensive representations to the Council on all which are relevant to Edenfield.

Screen captures of Rossendale Borough Council Website

The Council’s responses to the Schedule of Actions are available to view in Examination Library 8 on their website:

Examination Library 8 – Items arising from Action List document EL6.001 | Rossendale Borough Council

The consultation representations on these responses including those made by the Forum are available to view in Examination Library 9:

Examination Library 9 – Responses to the Inspectors’ invitation to comment re Examination Library 8 | Rossendale Borough Council

 On 2nd June the Council published Housing and Employment Land Updates with a two week consultation. These Updates have been produced to take into account changes to the National Planning methodology for the calculation of housing need which is the number of homes to be provided in the Local Plan. Because it is more than two years since the draft Plan was submitted to the Inspectors the Council can no longer rely on the housing need figure in the draft.  The Council’s proposal is to make only a small change to the number of homes to be built from 3,180 to 3,191 but the time period is increased from 15 years to 17 years. Again the Forum reviewed these and submitted detailed representations as part of the consultation process. The Updates and all of the consultation representations are available to view in Examination Library 10:

Examination Library 10 – Consultation on Housing and Employment Land Updates | Rossendale Borough Council

The next stage in this long drawn out process is for the Inspectors’ to issue a post Hearings letter which is expected soon. Following that the Council will publish their proposed Main Modifications to the Local Plan which will go to another consultation.

Edenfield Neighbourhood Plan

We eventually received the Council’s comments on the draft Neighbourhood Plan in January. We have now reviewed these in detail and have responded.

We are now working on updating the draft Plan to take into account these comments and make it ready for the Regulation 14 public consultation.

Annual General Meeting

We have still not been able to hold an AGM since the meeting scheduled for March 2020 was postponed. due to Covid. Hopefully restrictions will be lifted during July so that we will be able to arrange a meeting for later in the summer.

General Meetings are only open to members of the Forum but anyone who lives or works in Edenfield can join – just complete the application form on this website.

Highways England and Chatterton Hey field

Chatterton Hey Field is at the bottom of Exchange Street and is owned by the Methodist Church. The Church has let us know that in the coming weeks Highways England will be doing drainage work on the southbound carriageway of the A56 bypass and they will be using part of the field for a compound for vehicles and equipment. A temporary track will be laid from the bottom of Exchange Street to the compound further down the field.

Aerial View of Chatterton Hey Field between Exchange Street and the A56

The Church are well aware that the field is well used by residents and they have been assured by Highways England that precautions will be in place to minimise the risk of accidents.

Do not panic if you see construction activity on the field – they are not building houses!

Update on Forum activities – 8th September 2020

Edenfield Neighbourhood Plan

Following the consultation with residents and businesses on 29th February and subsequent consultations with non-resident landowners, the draft Neighbourhood Plan was updated to incorporate relevant comments received. The revised draft Plan was then sent to Rossendale Council in early April for their comments and also for them to undertake a screening assessment as required under environmental regulations. We are still awaiting both the comments and the screening assessment although we anticipate receiving them during September. Once we have received the Council’s screening assessment and comments we will be able to finalise the Regulation 14 version of the Plan which will go to a formal public six-week consultation. We had hoped that this consultation would take place by July but the delay in receiving responses from the Council now means that it will be much later in the year.

Rossendale Draft Local Plan

At the conclusion of the Examination Hearings in October 2019 the Inspectors issued a Schedule of Actions of over 80 items for the Council to respond to. It was agreed that the Council would respond to these by May of this year – but that was before coronavirus struck. On 18th June the first batch of responses was published on the Council’s website which covered fourteen of the Inspectors’ requests and by 31st August there have been no further responses. The latest information published on the Council website on 1st September states that “additional items are anticipated in the current month with a series of consultation exercises to relevant parties anticipated thereafter”.
All announcements and documents can be viewed on the Council’s website:
https://www.rossendale.gov.uk/info/210148/local_plan/10629/emerging_local_plan/3

The timetable issued by the Council in January anticipated that the Inspectors’ final report would be issued in November but, with the delays, it is now more than likely that this will go into next year.
The responses issued on 18th June included some that relate to the proposals for Edenfield and the Forum has been reviewing these in detail in readiness for any future consultation. We will review the remaining responses as they are published.

We have had a meeting with our MP, Jake Berry, who remains very supportive. Jake subsequently wrote to the Inspectors and the Council with details of some of our major concerns providing summary comments that we felt had not been fully addressed at the Hearings. The inspectors responded and both letters have been posted on the Council website (Examination Library documents EL6.012a and EL6.012b). We hope that our information will now get fully considered. Jake also submitted questions to the Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government).

We have concerns with some of Highways England’s statements on the proposed developments in Edenfield particularly some of the technical aspects. We engaged our highways consultants, SK Transport Planning Ltd, to write to Highways England detailing our concerns. This letter and subsequent correspondence has been posted in the Examination Library 6 on the Council website under reference EL6.013a-e.

Neighbourhood Plan Consultation – 29th February

Thank you to everybody who attended our consultation on the Edenfield Neighbourhood Plan on 29th February. It was very pleasing to see so much interest shown by residents in our plans for the future of the village.

Thanks also for all your comments which we will take into account when we update our plans.

Edenfield Neighbourhood Plan Consultation

To: all residents and businesses of Edenfield

Saturday 29th February 10am to 2pm

Edenfield Community Centre, Exchange Street

A Neighbourhood Plan is a community-led framework for guiding the future development and growth of an area. Over the last eighteen months the Forum Management Committee has been working on a Neighbourhood Plan for the village. We now need your views on the work we have done and how you would like to see the village develop in the future. We will then take this information into account when finalising the Plan before it is put to Rossendale Council and an independent examiner.

If you would like a say in how Edenfield will evolve in the years to come or if you just want to see what is going on please call in and see us at the Community Centre anytime between 10am and 2pm on Saturday 29th February. There will be free tea, coffee and biscuits.

More information on Neighbourhood Plans can be found on the Locality website www.neighbourhoodplanning.org or by contacting us via this website: http://edenfieldcommunityforum.uk/contact-ecnf/

Local Plan update

The Inspectors have now issued their post Hearings letter to the Council which is available to view on the RBC website. The letter does not contain any views on the soundness of the Draft Local Plan due to the amount of information that the Inspectors still require from the Council before they can complete their assessment.

The timetable for provision of this information (Schedule of Actions) has also been made available on the RBC website. This indicates that it will take about six months for all the information to be provided.

Some proposed modifications to the Plan were agreed between the Inspectors and the Council during the Hearings and they have now been collated and are also available on the RBC website (List of Main Modifications).

The link for all of these documents is:
https://www.rossendale.gov.uk/downloads/download/11276/examination_library_6_-_further_documents_following_the_close_of_hearings

The Inspectors’ letter mentioned above, requests the Council to produce a revised indicative timetable for production of the Local Plan. Once this is published we will have a better idea of when to expect the Inspectors’ final views on the Plan and the effect it will have on the future of our village. We will give a further update after this timetable is published.