A FINAL decision on a controversial plan to build 59 homes in Stanhill is expected shortly.
Last year Barratt Homes submitted an application to Hyndburn Council to build the houses and apartments on the former Peel Fold Mill site off Stanhill Road.
The plan was strongly criticised by residents of Stanhill Village who feared the character of the community would be destroyed.
While they accepted there was need for development on the site, they felt Barratt’s plan was too large.
Hyndburn Council’s Planning Committee deferred a decision on the plan in August.
Councillor Janet Storey said during the meeting: "I completely sympathise with the villagers. Hyndburn is turning into an apartment borough.’’
The development again went before the committee in September when it was rejected in its present form.
The committee encouraged Barratt to go back to the drawing board on the grounds that there were too many houses.
Councillor Marlene Haworth said at the time: "Barratt is only thinking about making money and not about the consequences for the people who live in this lovely village. It wants to build 59 houses per hectare when other developments are planning 46.’’
However, the company has now appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, claiming "non-determination’’, meaning the council had failed to make a decision on the application within the statutory time period.
The decision will now be made by a planning inspector after a public inquiry to be held on Tuesday 12 February at Scaitcliffe House, Accrington.
Barratt has also submitted a second, slightly different, application for the old pickle factory site.
Stanhill resident Richard Hooper said: "We are up for the public inquiry and welcome the debate."
But he said he believed the council would not contest the new application.
He said: "They are not communicating with us, that is the point.
"We are concerned about an apparent betrayal by the council which has said it will fight for us."
Barratt declined to make any comment.