H66 Ground investigation works – September 2022

ECNF received a call from Peel on 22nd September to let us know that they will be doing some ground investigation work on their H66 land next week. This is the land north of Church Lane. This is not the start of building work. Taylor Wimpey have done similar work over the last few years on their land to the west of Market Street.

At this time we have no information as to when a planning application will be submitted for development of this land.

ECNF Response to Taylor Wimpey/Anwyl Land Market Street Masterplan Consultation


Consultation Process
In our opinion, the consultation process is totally unsatisfactory because;
the two-week consultation period is ridiculously short, particularly in the summer holiday season;
our information is that not all Edenfield households received the consultation leaflet, although at the webinar on 29th June 2022 it was claimed that about 1,000 leaflets had been delivered;
the leaflet gives limited information, with the result that anyone without internet access will be unaware of the detail and thereby be at a disadvantage in responding;
the leaflet says there will be “two webinars where you can join and ask questions of the team” but provides the time of only one, held at barely one week’s notice;
it was not until the webinar that it was confirmed no developer has yet been chosen for the area promoted by Anwyl Land (Chatterton Hey site);
and there are other omissions and errors in the consultation, as noted below.

Masterplan comments
Masterplan does not satisfy Local Plan

  1. The consultation masterplan falls short of the requirements of the Rossendale Local Plan. The Local Plan requires a masterplan for the entire site reference H66 land west of Market Street, Edenfield which is estimated to yield 400 homes. The consultation masterplan lacks any detail about the land in H66 in other ownerships. The Local Plan is quite specific that the masterplan must be for the entire site. Rossendale Borough Council have pledged that they will work in partnership with key landowners and key stakeholders, including Edenfield Community Neighbourhood Forum, to ensure that such a masterplan is prepared (Local Plan, page 56, paragraph 121).

    Lack of information
  2. The consultation says 235 homes will be built in the developers’ first phase but omits the crucial information about the number of homes in their second phase (Chatterton Hey site). It emerged from the webinar that the second phase would yield some 90 dwellings. At the very least, the masterplan should indicate how many dwellings will be built and where and when.
  3. Without this information it is impossible to have a comprehensive Transport Assessment.

    Traffic
  4. A major concern is the impact on traffic of a 50% increase in housing in a village which already has significant traffic problems. This was recognised in the Local Plan which states that development will be supported provided that a Transport Assessment is provided demonstrating that the site can be safely accessed. It will need to address issues arising from the proposed accesses from Blackburn Road, Market Street and Exchange Street, including the consequent reduced availability of on-street parking, as well as the impact of the inevitable increase in local traffic on the Market Place roundabout and at the beginning
    and end of the school day in the vicinity of an enlarged Edenfield CE Primary School. There is no indication in this consultation about when this Assessment is going to be prepared and when the highway authority will be involved in the process, but it is crucial to any consideration of the masterplan.
  5. At the webinar it was admitted that the new Market Street access would require a ghosted right-turn lane. The consultation leaflet and website are silent about this but should have disclosed the information.
  6. Although the consultation documents show the highway access to the Chatterton Hey site from the foot of Exchange Street, the highway authority has stated that Exchange Street would be unsuitable for this purpose. The consultation ignores the highway authority’s suggestion that vehicular access to this area should be through the estate to connect to the proposed access from Market Street, with only pedestrian and cycle links to Exchange Street – see Local Plan Examination Library document EL8.014 Actions 14.1 to 14.4, paragraph 4.1 Action 14.3 – www.rossendale.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/16396/
    el8014_actions_141_to_144_-housing_site_allocations
    _edenfield_helmshore_irwell_vale_and_ewood_bridge_with_appendices.pdf

  7. In the webinar it was claimed that access to the Chatterton Hey site from Exchange Street and Highfield Road would be all right as only 90 houses were involved. However, at the time of Lancashire County Council ’s comments the estimated yield from that area, according to the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, was only 70.
  8. It would clearly be undesirable for motor traffic resulting from the development to use the existing public footpaths (which are also private vehicular rights of way serving Mushroom House, Chatterton Hey and Alderbottom/Swallows Barn). The masterplan is not clear how estate traffic would be segregated from those footpaths.

    Community involvement
  9. Edenfield Community Neighbourhood Forum has been working over the years to bring forward a Neighbourhood Plan and has involved the community, stakeholders and the local planning authority in the process. The masterplan consultation claims that the scheme will be community-led, although this is hard to reconcile with the fact that local residents are overwhelmingly opposed. If the developers are serious in this claim, they must commit to ensuring that the development will be in accordance with the emerging Edenfield Neighbourhood Plan and its design codes. In the webinar it was stated that the Taylor Wimpey houses would be mainly two-storey but with a few at 2.5 storeys. We are concerned that any houses more than two storeys high would have a seriously detrimental effect on views across the site to the other side of the valley. Those views are part of the distinctive character of the village and are highly valued by the community.

    Green spaces, sports provision, landscaping and biodiversity
  10. The new green spaces to be opened up are all located on the western and northern periphery of the consultation site. Apart from these, the masterplan depicts a development that will be a mass of, to use the wording of the leaflet, “just bricks and mortar.” There is no provision for green spaces or landscaping with hedgerows within the development.
  11. Far from being ‘long-lasting’ as claimed, some of those green spaces will be short-lived if National Highways proceeds with a scheme to widen the A56.
  12. It would benefit both existing and new residents if green spaces were provided on the eastern flank of the consultation site. A green buffer on this side would mitigate any clash between the styles of existing and new development.
  13. The green space deficiency might be ameliorated to a small degree by keeping open the field between Market Street and Mushroom House. This area could be used for a parking area for the benefit of existing residents whose access to on-street parking is going to be diminished.
  14. The consultation website refers to ‘Providing generous areas of public open space and outdoors sports provision’, but, even if the green spaces are included, the open space provision is far from generous and, discounting the locally equipped area of play (LEAP), the outdoor sports provision is non-existent.
  15. In the Masterplan layout, the LEAP is poorly located, adjacent to the junction of busy B6527 Market Street and the main site access.
  16. We note that the illustration on the website pages between the sections ‘Our Proposals’ and ‘Masterplan’ suggests that it will be houses, not a LEAP, in this position. That illustration shows also a path across a grassed area adjoining Market Street and the estate road, but that path is not marked on the masterplan. These inconsistencies immediately cast doubt on the reliability of any of the information provided.
  17. In view of the prospective requirements in the Environment Act 2021, the masterplan should demonstrate how the biodiversity value attributable to the development will exceed the pre-development biodiversity value of the onsite habitat by 10%.
  18. Cycle route provision is perfunctory. It is not clear what it connects with. It should be included as part of the green spaces and as part of a wider cycle scheme.
  19. It is surprising that the sustainable drainage system (SUDS) features so prominently in the
    consultation, after National Highways has indicated that it is likely to be problematical. The Local Plan expects consideration to be paid to the suitability or not of sustainable drainage systems on the boundary adjoining the A56, but there is nothing in the consultation to show that this has been done.

    Heritage
  20. The paragraph about Heritage in the Virtual Exhibition misrepresents the listed status of Edenfield Parish Church. It is in fact Grade II* listed, not merely Grade II. We do not agree that it is not visible from the development site or that it is so well screened by existing tree cover that the development would have a negligible impact on its setting.

    Green Belt
  21. The consultation does not state what compensatory improvements will be made in the remaining Green Belt to compensate for the proposed development on former Green Belt land.

    Topography and geology
  22. The tipped earth on the site that forms a mound to the west of Mushroom House needs to be removed and carted away off-site, restoring the original contours. Otherwise, any dwellings built there would be on an unnaturally high level and over-dominant.
  23. Because of the underlying laminated clay, it is probable that extensive piling will be required, to ensure the stability and protection of the A56 and the new homes. The consultation does not mention this or explain how the effect of this on residents will be mitigated.

    Ian B. Lord
    Chair, Edenfield Community Neighbourhood Forum
    3rd July 2022

Market Street MasterPlan and Notice of AGM

Picture of "flyer" from developers

Market Street Masterplan

As you are probably aware Taylor Wimpey and Anwyl Land last week distributed leaflets to most homes in the village entitled “Market Street Masterplan”. This gives general proposals by which they will improve the village by building 400 houses! We feel that it does not adequately address a number of unresolved issues particularly that of the vast increase in traffic on our already busy roads.

This is a public consultation which gives an opportunity for residents to give their views by e-mail – [email protected] or by completing an online questionnaire on the website – www.marketstreetmasterplanconsultation.co.uk . We encourage you to let the developers know what you think before the deadline of 6th July. The Forum will also be submitting detailed comments to Taylor Wimpey and Anwyl Land on the proposals which we will subsequently share with residents.

Annual General Meeting

We have scheduled the second AGM of the Forum for 7.45pm on Thursday 14th July at the Edenfield Community Centre, Exchange Street. The Notice of Meeting and agenda has been emailed to all members.

As mentioned in our previous update in March we are taking this opportunity to invite non-members to the meeting. This will hopefully lead to more residents joining the Forum and get more ideas and support for our future work on the Neighbourhood Plan and challenging the developers’ masterplan and planning applications. A copy of a leaflet that we are circulating in the village is available here: https://edenfieldcommunityforum.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Your-village-needs-you.pdf

We hope that you can attend and please encourage any non-members to also attend. Also, there are vacancies on the Management Committee so please consider if you would like to put your name forward. You can put your name forward even if you are unable to attend the meeting.

Analysis of Rossendale planning applications & approvals

Edenfield Community Neighbourhood Forum have been monitoring planning applications received by Rossendale Borough Council as the Council works towards the target in their recently adopted Local Plan of building 3,191 new homes in Rossendale between 2019/20 and 2035/6.

It is particularly interesting to see the large number of “windfall” sites which are sites not included in the Local Plan. Rossendale Council, unlike some other Councils, chose not to make any allowance for windfall sites in the Local Plan. The Forum’s analysis of planning applications for 2021/22 below shows windfall sites with 26 homes actually approved and the potential for up to 170 more if all the pending applications are subsequently approved.

The Local Plan did include an allowance for “small sites” of 19 per year even though the Forum argued that a more appropriate number was 25 per year. A small site is one with less than five homes. The Forum’s analysis of planning applications for 2021/22 below shows small site approvals of 33 homes with the potential for 26 more if all the pending applications are subsequently approved.

If the Local Plan had included in each of it’s fifteen years a more appropriate level of housing from small sites (25 rather than the 19) and a conservative allowance from windfall sites then the Edenfield Green Belt site H66 (400 homes) could have been excluded and there would still be a sizeable excess over the 3,191.

There was a Council determination in the Local Plan to increase the housing in Edenfield by nearly  50% (mostly on Green Belt land) despite the above and the serious infrastructure issues which are still unresolved.

Summary of Planning applications from 1st April 2021 to 31st March 2022

The quantities below are the number of homes

Type SiteApprovalsPending ConsiderationUnder Appeal
Small sites33215
Windfall Sites261700
Totals:6819211
Table showing Small site and Windfall site planning applications 2021-2022


In addition there were 10 approvals in the year for small site applications submitted in previous years.

The 170 windfall homes pending consideration include 104 homes on the old Grane Mill at Helmshore.

In addition there is an opportunity for up to 138 homes on the Clod Lane / Manchester Road site if the developers make a new Planning Application.

A sad day for Edenfield

On 15th December Rossendale Council voted in favour of adopting the Rossendale Local Plan. This includes the allocation of 456 houses in Edenfield of which 400 are on Green Belt land west of Market Street.

Green belt land designated by Rossendale Borough Council for building

The Forum together with the Edenfield Village Residents Association has fought against the Edenfield allocation for nearly four years but the Council has consistently ignored our challenges including proposals for alternative (and less painful) methods of meeting the housing requirement. The Inspectors’ report approved the Plan despite the serious infrastructure consequences (particularly on roads and schools) of the proposed 50% increase in housing in Edenfield raised repeatedly by the Forum and others and which are not resolved in the Plan. The intention is to kick the can down the road and hopefully sort these out later!

We have no doubt that, if the Council had submitted an alternative Plan incorporating many of the Forum’s proposals, the Inspectors would have approved that Plan – which would have been better for Rossendale and particularly for Edenfield.

In the end the approval by the Inspectors of the submitted Plan and the fear put about by the Council of what might happen if the Plan was not approved was enough to convince the majority of Councillors to vote for adoption. We thank those councillors who appreciated the alternatives and were brave enough to vote against.

Our MP, Jake Berry, had supported us by requesting the Secretary of State for Housing to call in the Plan which would have meant the Council having to reconsider the Plan and take into account the Forum’s objections. Shortly before the Council meeting we got the news that the Secretary had considered the request but had turned it down. It was not a good day! Our thanks go to Jake for his support.

So, where do we go from here? There is still a lot that needs to happen before any building can start. Developers have to submit detailed planning applications and solutions have to be found (or not!) to the infrastructure issues. There will be opportunities for residents to influence developments and the Edenfield Neighbourhood Plan will be very important in this.

Thank you to all Edenfield residents and others who have supported us over the last four years. We hope you will continue to support the work of the Forum including challenges to developments in Edenfield. If you are an Edenfield resident or work in the village and are not already a member of the Forum you can join by following this link: https://edenfieldcommunityforum.uk/join-us/. There is no cost or obligation.  

PRESS RELEASE – ROSSENDALE LOCAL PLAN

A decision is to be made by the Council on 15th December on whether to adopt the Rossendale Local Plan which includes the building of 400 houses on Green Belt Land in Edenfield. The Forum have challenged this proposal over the last four years and dispute the recently issued Inspectors’ report. We issued a press release early this week which summarised the reasons why development on this Green Belt land is not justified. Unfortunately, some press articles published this week do not include many of these reasons.

See below for the full story

456 homes proposed in Edenfield Green Belt – Council decision imminent

D-day looms for the plan to release Green Belt for housing in Edenfield. The inspectors’ final report, published last week, approves the scheme. Now Rossendale Council expect to adopt their Local Plan on 15th December, more than four years after the controversial proposals emerged.

The council propose 50% growth for the village, compared with 10% growth for the whole borough. Over 1,200 objections were lodged during the public consultation in summer 2018.

Aerial view showing proposed housing developments in North of Edenfield
Proposed development in North of Edenfield

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 says it is forced to release this site from green belt, as government figures require 3,191 homes by March 2036.

But campaigners dispute that calculation and say green belt is not needed for development at all.   

At every stage Edenfield Community Neighbourhood Forum challenged the disproportionate level of growth and the substantial loss of Green Belt.

Not justified

Forum chair Ian Lord explained, “National planning policy emphasises the permanence of green belt; its boundaries should only be altered where exceptional circumstances are fully evidenced and justified.

“In July 2017 the council proposed 3,795 new homes during 2019-2034.  Revised proposals in August 2018 reduced that to 3,180. The green belt sites should have been removed from the Plan at that stage.

“The plan was submitted in March 2019 but was so poorly prepared that the Inspectors demanded more information which was not finally provided until this year. As more than two years had passed since submission, the local housing need had to be re-calculated. The new figure is 2,775 over 15 years, a reduction of 405 homes, sufficient to remove the large green belt site.

“The council are now extending the plan by two years to 2036. It is also adding the past two years’ housing shortfall to the 15-year target, although the way to address shortfall should be to accelerate delivery in the next five years. We suspect this is an attempt to justify development on Edenfield’s green belt.

Aerial view showing proposed housing developments in South of Edenfield
Proposed development in South of Edenfield

Alternative sites

“The allocated, committed and completed sites can yield 3,209 homes. It is realistic to expect 420 more from small sites and other windfalls, town centre regeneration, and re-purposing sites no longer suitable for employment. In total, sites for over 3,600 homes are available. The housing need can therefore be satisfied without resorting to green belt.

“Additionally, the forum has identified non-green belt sites for up to 2,760 homes that the council has wrongly ruled out.”

Mr. Lord added: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.” 

Not suitable

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.

“The forum’s transport consultants are concerned about local road capacity and problematic site access. Access on Market Street is proposed, but any alteration to layout is likely to affect residents who rely on street parking. The council just says there will be a transport assessment of the Blackburn Road/Market Street corridor.

“The report skates over the difficulties. Even the agents for Peel L&P, one of the site promoters, now say its allocation is unsound for want of evidence that a highway mitigation scheme is achievable and affordable. The can has been kicked down the road for this and other matters such as how many extra primary school places will be provided, how the setting of the parish church, a grade II* – listed building with parts dating back to 1614, will be enhanced and whether difficult ground conditions prejudice the viability of development. These are all crucial issues, which we raised and which the examination should have fully explored.

“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,” concluded Mr Lord.

6th December 2021

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.

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!