Great Britain

Blackburn gateway homes plan sparks residents' protest

RESIDENTS near a gateway site into a town centre have banded together to protest at its proposed development with 165 high-quality homes.

A Liverpool architects’ firm has submitted a speculative planning application for the new housing estate on a patch of land to the south of Whalley Old Road in Blackburn.

If approved, a major developer is expected to take over the project to build a mix of detached and semi-detached ‘executive homes’ and affordable properties on the site in Sunny Bower.

But now 39-year-old website designer Iain Sykes, of nearby Sunny Bower Road, has organised a protest group objecting to the scheme.

He has set up a Facebook group ‘Whalley Old Road Housing Development Opposition Group’ which so far has 29 members, created a petition currently signed by 13 people, and contacted Blackburn MP Kate Hollern.

Mr Sykes said: “The start of the development will be at the end of the road on which I live and would destroy the views we enjoy, as well as obliterating those of residents on Whalley Old Road.

“It would also add serious traffic congestion to the area and unwanted pollution, as well as damaging local wildlife.

“I am personally against it because my wife, mother and I moved up here as we liked the tranquillity, the environment and the fact that there are lovely open fields just around the corner with panoramic views of the Oswaldtwistle fells.

“The ground itself is unsuitable for housing but is also a haven for wildlife.

“The plans are for executive homes, which means that they are unlikely to be affordable to those who really need them.

“We want the council to know that people are really not happy about it.”

Blackburn with Darwen Council regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley said: “It is well known that the council has housing targets set by the government which were progressing favourably before the onset of the pandemic.

“We are pleased that applications of this sort are coming forward which show there is confidence by developers in the borough.

“As a major development this application will be discussed by the borough planning committee which is where residents' views will be heard.”

Applicant Cass Associates promises ‘a mix of house types incorporating affordable housing’ which will ‘provide a distinct identity at a point of transition from the open countryside into the built-up area’.

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