Land south of Rossendale Road, Seddon Homes, p planning

Seddon Homes application for 111 houses off Rossendale Road is one of two heading to the full Burnley Council meeting next week. Credit: via planning documents

Burnley asked to reconsider rejection of 147 homes

Legal and planning officers agree that the council would be acting contrary to the local plan – and thus making itself vulnerable to legal challenge – should it persist in refusing the applications from Seddon Homes and Applethwaite.

Burnley’s development control committee had voted to refuse both projects during its 14 March meeting. According to the local authority’s policies, both applications now have to go before the full council next week to be determined.

The projects under scrutiny

Seddon’s plans revolve around building 111 homes on 12 acres of open fields off Rossendale Road. These homes would comprise 49 four-bed homes, 52 three-bed ones, and 10 two-bed residences. Of the 111 homes, 11 would be designated as affordable. There would also be a multi-use games area.

Applethwaite’s proposal is to construct 36 houses on nearly four acres of grazing land off Heckenhurst Avenue in Brownside. There would be 10 three-bed houses and 26 with four bedrooms. Of the 36, two would be affordable and 26 would be designed to the government’s M4(2) standard to be adaptable and accessible.

Both applications focus on land that has been allocated for housing in Burnley’s Local Plan 2012-2032.

The controversy

The applications were rejected because councillors felt that they did not meet the social infrastructure requirements listed in the local plan – namely that the constructing of these homes would mean schools and health services would be unable to care for the population.

Councillors did not provide sufficient or specific evidence to back up this opinion, according to the head of housing and development control, Paul Gatrell, in an officer report.

Gatrell pointed out in both instances that the projects had not received complaints from the statutory consultees. Applicants had also agreed to provide financial support for additional secondary places – with Seddon agreeing £293,900 for 11 places and Applethwaite committing £133,600 for five places.

Applethwaite’s project also had raised highway safety concerns from the councillors – not from the highway authority. Ahead of the upcoming full council meeting, the developer has agreed to pay £100,000 for road safety improvements to alleviate those concerns.

The next steps – and a big policy shift

A full council meeting is the next destination for these plans, which will be discussed at such an event on 17 April. Councillors will either vote to agree with planning officers and approve the application or side with their development control committee brethren and refuse it then and there – and contrary to legal advice.

Of course, the council could vote to defer the application. Or, there’s always a fourth option: sending the applications back to the development control committee to decide.

That is what has happened in the past few instances where an application has gone before Burnley’s full council. It is this fourth option that is also causing council officers to suggest changing planning policy, arguing that the current method leads to lengthy delays and puts the council at risk of going to appeal because of non-determination.

The proposed change would take away the necessity for plans to go before the full committee at all. Instead, any plan rejected contrary to the local plan will have to go to the development control committee again at a later date. This will be a safeguard or, as an officer reporter terms it, a “cooling off period”, providing time for councillors to think twice about making a legally risky decision.

This shift in policy will be decided at the full council meeting on 17 April as well. It is notable that it appears after the previous planning applications on the agenda.

Hungry for more details on the apps going to committee?

You can learn more about Seddon’s project by searching FUL/2021/0691 on Burnley Council’s planning portal. Chadkirk Consulting is the planner behind the scheme. The project team includes architect DGL Associates, landscape architect TBA, biodiversity expert ERAP, and renewable energy strategist AES.

Gleen more information about Applethwaite’s plans by searching FUL/2022/0629. Smith & Love is the planning consultant. The project team includes Woodcroft Design, flood risk and drainage engineer RSK, arboriculture consultant and landscape architect TBA, ecologist Envirotech, and transport consultant DTPC.

Your Comments

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NIMBYs at work again.


do away with planning boards, none of them are qualified to make these calls.

By Anonymous

Typical Burnley!

By Anonymous

Consider Brownfield sites only.

By Mr Garrett Cliviger

It’s a joke. It will probably get passed yet I can’t get a two storey extension passed but the local councillor of colour can get a 3 storey extension increasing his property over 50%. Burnley planning dept and councillors are just a waste of time.

By Anonymous

Look at the state of the homes on Rossendale Road!! Burnley Council are to blame. Stand in you!!!

By Susan Stokes

Has the council thought to project how many additional cars would be brought on to the site off Rossendale Road with so many 3 and 4 bedroomed properties that are projected. Where will children go to school, as neighbouring one’s overcrowded already.

By Lifelong resident

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