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.

  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 –

  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.

  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

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
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.

CPRE reports 5000 hectares of Green Belt Land lost in 2017-2018

Yesterday’s Daily Mail published details from a report by the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE). 

According to the report:

  • 10,000 hectares of land have been removed from green belt since 2012
  • 5,000 hectares of land lost green belt protection in 2017/2018
  • Nationally there are plans to build 460,000 homes on green belt land

The CPRE report states that green belt land is the most profitable and desirable for developers due to it being ‘shovel ready’, surrounded by countryside and within commuting distance of major towns and cities.

The CPRE goes on to state that “There is currently enough brownfield land in England to accommodate more than a million homes, with almost three quarters of this in areas with green belt land.” The CPRE urged the Government and local authorities to ensure brownfield land is redeveloped before any more land is released from the green belt.

ECNF shares this opinion and has made this representation to RBC in response to their local plan.