Published July 5, 2018 at 10:19
Rossendale Council has unveiled its latest draft of its 15 year local plan which will be going out to consultation later this summer before being submitted to the Government for public examination by an independent Inspector.
The government target for the number of houses to be built in the borough has been reduced. The target is now 3180 or 212 homes a year.
But the Council still considers this too high and will continue to raise the issue nationally.
Other changes since the last iteration of the local plan include more use of brownfield sites and reduction in the number of green belt sites. The Council would like it to be more brownfield but many sites are constrained by issues such as flood risk, poor access and contamination meaning they are impractical to pit forward.
Green belt sites such as at Tonacliffe, Whitworth (130 houses) and Haslam Farm in Rawtenstall (21 houses) have been taken out as well as a proposed employment site in the Green Belt at Hollin Gate Farm, Rising Bridge.
The site in Edenfield between Market Street and the A56 remains but with 45 fewer houses allocated to it.
The location of the travellers transit site has changed as well to be part of a mixed use employment site at Barlow
Other major changes include the removal of proposals to build houses between Newchurch Road and Bacup Road in Rawtenstall (55 dwellings) and off Bankside Lane in Bacup (139 houses). A new housing allocation is proposed for around 80 houses near Commercial Street in Loveclough.
The Council is also commissioning an interactive mapping tool to make it easier for residents to respond when the plan goes out to 6 weeks public consultation towards the end of August.
In terms of employment sites, most of the existing ones are being retained in the new version of the local plan however a number of new employment sites are being proposed close to A56.
Councillor Christine Lamb, whose portfolio covers planning, said:
“I am pleased our housing target has dropped but we still think it’s too high especially considering our transport and infrastructure needs. We need to continue to fight to get more investment and funding into the borough to meet those needs.
“We understand fully people will have strong views about these allocations and we of course will continue to listen to their views.
“But we have to meet government targets and we have to adhere to national policy and we believe these sites, which officers have determined after a rigorous process of looking at the evidence, represent a good balance between acknowledging the importance of the borough’s rural character while meeting the challenge of bringing forward new development in a valley.
“Without a local plan, we are not protected against speculative development and we have no influence on how our borough grows. We will continue to take people’s views on board.”