VILLAGERS have won a David and Goliath battle against a property developer.
A planning inspector ruled against Barratt Manchester’s appeal over Hyndburn Council’s refusal of an application to build 59 homes on the site of the old pickle factory in Stanhill village.
Richard Hooper, one of dozens of residents who have fought the plan since it was put forward in 2007, said: “We feel this decision is a reward for all the hard work villagers have put in over the last few months.
“It is great news that the planners have listened to residents’ concerns.
“It shows democracy does work. If you shout loud enough you can be heard.”
The inspector, who conducted a public inquiry, said the main issue was the effect the development would have on the community and its appearance.
While Stanhill residents were not against a development on the site, they feared Barratt’s plan would destroy the character of the village because there were simply too many homes including three-storey apartments.
Planning inspector Susan Holland said: “The proposed quadruple block of three-storey flats, largely unobscured, would be a massive and obtrusive addition at the edge of the settlement.”
Although she objected to the height, she was not against the idea of building apartments on the site.
She said: “I have no evidence that the provision of flats, upon which the residents’ objections were largely focused, would in itself necessarily impact upon the settlement.’’
Mr Hooper added: “We actually encouraged developers to build here but this was far too much for a picturesque village of 300 people to retain its intimate and friendly character.’’
Ward councillor Doug Hayes said: “It’s an excellent result. It really has been a David and Goliath battle. To come out on the side of the Stanhill residents is a wonderful decision.”
Barratt’s had argued at the appeal that the plan would bring many benefits to the area.