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.

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.