GREEN Belt land surrounding Rishton and Huncoat could disappear under a crucial document outlining potential development areas across Hyndburn for the next 15 years.
Hyndburn Council’s core strategy has outlined four options – a balanced development strategy, employment-led strategy, housing-led strategy and accessibility-led strategy.
The 110-page document would have a major impact on the two towns under three of the proposals:
- The balanced development strategy – the council’s preferred option – includes an employment area next to the existing Whitebirk site roughly the same size as Rishton, using existing Green Belt land. A large area bordering Huncoat and the M65 has also been earmarked for future employment and housing.
- The employment-led strategy would see the entire Green Belt between Huncoat and the M65 swallowed up, along with the area between Lee Lane and Rishton Golf Club and the railway station. Executive homes would also be built around Great Harwood.
- The housing-led strategy would create a doughnut of executive homes around existing towns, extending into the Green Belt.
- The accessibility-led strategy proposes sustainable transport routes in the built-up area and focuses on building on existing brown field sites.
Councillor Miles Parkinson, who represents Rishton on the county council, said: “Most of the options infringe on Rishton's Green Belt.
“It is pretty worrying that they have just hatched an area in magic marker and dedicated it for employment land.
“You can’t tell how big the area is and whether the site is five acres, 50 acres or 500 yards from your house.
“My preferred option is option four, where it’s proposed that brown field sites are used. This would bring back the vitality of Rishton. We have been left with dilapidated mills but hopefully this would regenerate the town centre.
“The other three options are not sustainable and would have a detrimental effect in a number of areas. It’s critical that they get the right option now.”
People initially had until 22 December to register their opinions, but council leader Peter Britcliffe told the Observer that this would be extended until March.
Councillor Parkinson added: “It’s no good just having a document and a picture in the library with no-one to explain it.”
Huncoat councillor Paul Gott added: “It’s a very important document and the ramifications will be around for the next 15 years.
“It could greatly affect Huncoat and that’s why people have to look at the plans and put forward their suggestions.”
For more information log on to the council‘s website at www.hyndburnbc.gov.uk