A controversial housing scheme for the former Hill Top Care Home site in Baxenden has been narrowly approved.
Hyndburn Council planning committee chairman Harry Grayson cast the deciding vote after the 12 councillors on the panel were equally split over the plans.
A total of 75 letters of objection were sent to the council over the application to build eight semi-detached and four detached homes at the site off Newton Drive and Manchester Road.
Under the plans,12 trees would be felled and nine other diseased or unstable trees would be removed.
Campaigners said it was ‘overdevelopment’ and would impact on traffic, noise and pollution and be a danger to school children.
Council planning officers had recommended the scheme be approved despite objections from Historic England over the impact on the local conservation area.
Manchester Road resident and Christchurch Residents Group member Frank McEvoy said they were not ‘anti-development’ but the level objection was ‘so unified and strong’
He said: “There is a high degree of concern and anxiety and it has had not one letter of support.”
Mr McEvoy said it would be at the ‘extreme edge of over-development’ and that the felling of the trees is ‘legalised vandalism’.
Ward councillor Kath Pratt said it would cause ‘untold parking problems’.
She told the meeting: “It is not in the interest of the borough or thee residents who will have to love with the resulting chaos.”
Committee member Peter Britcliffe said he ‘can’t believe we as a committee could possibly want to accept this planning application’.
Applicant Ian Grice said all the perimeter trees would be maintained and it would provide a ‘stronger and balanced housing offer’ for the borough
He told the meeting: “It’s been a painful process. It’s taken 18 months but we have arrived at a position that’s viable.
“It’s an awkward site to deliver and we have gone out of our way to do this.
“We are catering for demand with good quality housing and good value housing for families.
“We have received 80 interests in the properties from local families and neighbours wishing to downsize.” Mr Grice said more than £440,000 would be ‘pumped into the local economy’ and the scheme will use 20 local trade employees and two apprentices.