Update on Forum activities – November 2021

Rossendale Draft Local Plan

Following the provisional acceptance by the Inspectors that Green Belt land can be released for development we met with our MP, Jake Berry, in late August. Jake then wrote to both the Secretary of State for Housing and the Inspectors  expressing his concern that Green Belt land was being allocated for development despite government regulations that Green Belt land should not be built on if there is sufficient non-Green Belt land available. Both letters were acknowledged but without a constructive response.

In view of this and recent comments from Boris Johnson and Michael Gove that Green Belt should not be built on and brownfield development should be prioritised we met with Jake again in October. Jake confirmed his full support and belief in the challenges we have submitted and said that he would do all in his power to prevent development on Green Belt land in Rossendale. He has now made a a direct request to Michael Gove as Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities to “call in” the Plan. If the Secretary of State agrees that the Plan conflicts with national policy he is able to call it in which means that he will appoint an Inspector to carry out an Inquiry.

In September the Council published their Main Modifications to the draft Local Plan which, not surprisingly following the Inspectors’ comments, did not make any changes to the proposed building of 456 houses in Edenfield. There followed a six week consultation period during which we submitted detailed representations supporting our case. Later in October the Council published all the representations they had received. The Main Modifications and all the representations made can be accessed through the Local Examination page of the Council website in Examination library 12:

Examination Library 12 – Consultation on Proposed Main Modifications to the Local Plan | Rossendale Borough Council

The representations include some interesting and positive comments including:

  – Turley on behalf of Peel (EL12.012e – from page 1253). They say parts of the Plan are unsound including the H62 (formerly H72) allocation which is the 400 houses on the land west of Market Street. Peel are one of the three promoters of this site. They say that H62 “has not been proven to be developable at this point owing to significant uncertainties around the practical delivery and viability of the highway mitigation which is now acknowledged by policy H62 as being needed to deliver the allocation”. They have even commissioned a report by traffic consultants which throws doubt on whether the problems are capable of being resolved.

– National Highways (previously Highways England) (EL12.012a) are still insisting on a geotechnical survey on H62.

– Rossendale Civic Trust (EL12.012a page 213) argue against the loss of views and farmland.

– Roman Summer (EL12.012b,c,d) who are the planning consultants acting for Edenwood Mill have submitted over 500 pages which give great details on the proposals for the site. Initially 47 houses were proposed for the site but this has been increased to 66 by including the adjoining Green Belt land to the north east under Wood Lane.

We have recently discovered that the Inspectors’ final report will be published very soon and also that the Council are proposing to adopt the draft Local Plan at their meeting on 15th December. Once we have seen the Inspectors’ report we will decide on what further action to date. It is extremely disappointing that the Council have given very little time for the public to review the report before such an important meeting. 

Edenfield Neighbourhood Plan

Our work on the Neighbourhood Plan is temporarily paused as we concentrate our efforts on challenging the Draft Local Plan.

Chatterton Hey field

Highways England (now called National Highways) used the field for access when they were doing work on the bypass embankment. That work has now finished but the Methodist Church was able to arrange for HE to put up a gate and fencing to stop unauthorised vehicles. The Church are happy to let pedestrians (and dogs!) continue to use the field.     

Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP)

This Plan is being prepared by Lancashire County Council in partnership with Rossendale Borough Council and Hyndburn Borough Council who would like input from interested parties to help shape the Plan. There is an upcoming public consultation and the Forum has been asked to register an interest which we have now done.

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