CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save green belt land in Huncoat breathed a huge sigh of relief this week as development plans were turned down.
Campaigning group The Huncoat Voice, which, along with the Huncoat Forum, has been fighting plans to build on the area’s dwindling green belt for the past five years, finally got the result it was looking for.
Developers from Leicester-shire were applying to build an industrial estate on the land south of the former Power Station, off Lowergate Road, with an access road cutting through designated green belt.
The access road would then meet the proposed link road connecting the new waste treatment plant to Burnley Road and theA56 at the Griffin Head roundabout.
Ian McCann, spokesman for Huncoat Voice at Wednesday’s meeting of Hyndburn Planning Committee, said: "There is so much brownfield land in Huncoat, never mind Hyndburn, that it is not viable to start cutting up green belt land."
The application received 103 letters of objection, plus a petition containing 645 signatures.
Huncoat ward Councillor, Paul Gott, made an emotional plea to the committee to turn down the application, saying: "One of the major issues being overlooked in this case is the five homes that will be completely surrounded by industrial units if this goes ahead.
"Huncoat people have the right to live, not just exist."
Developers Revelan Estates of Wigston hit back by saying their plans would possibly create 600 jobs in an area designated as employment land in 1991.
Huncoat’s Independent councillor Dave Parkins, said: "As far as planning guidance goes this application crosses every ‘t’ and dots every ‘i’.
"Nobody wants to wake up and find employment land next to them but it must go somewhere. I think it is possibly in the wrong place. The land on top of the pit would be much better for this sort of development."
Despite the efforts of the developers and a recommendation from the planning officer, the planning committee turned down the application with a majority vote.
Councillor Clare Pritchard said: "We are really good at de-personalising issues on this committee. In this case, though, I think we need to take into consideration the people of Huncoat, because they are the ones who have to live there. The committee must support these residents."
Huncoat Voice leaders Ian McCann and Louise Burton said: "We are absolutely thrilled that the decision has been made with common sense. There is so much industry already in Huncoat that this decision was the only possible right one.
"Huncoat Voice is now going to fight to change the purpose of the land back to green belt from employment land."
The campaigners are meeting for celebratory drinks at the Black Bull, Huncoat, on Monday evening and invites anybody who wishes to celebrate with them.