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Plans to turn 'dilapidated' garden area into school car park approved

Seven objections were submitted to the scheme in Great Harwood

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Informal garden area on Orchard Street in Great Harwood which will be turned into a Muslim school car park.

Plans to convert a ‘dilapidated informal garden area’ into a school car park have been given the go-ahead.

Applicant Mujeeb Rehman had sought permission to transform the site on Orchard Street in Great Harwood.

The scheme will include a 13-bay car park and landscaping works adjacent to the former Methodist Church building, which is now being used as a Muslim school.

Councillors unanimously approved the application at a planning meeting last week.

Residents had submitted seven letters of objection to the council arguing the site should be retained as a ‘play area’ and that the car park would attract more traffic, noise and ‘disharmony’.

Planning officer Mark Glover told the council meeting that the site is currently used as an ‘informal garden area’ and is ‘overgrown and in a dilapidated state’.

He said the scheme would ‘help mitigate the potential problem of on-street parking’ and bring the ‘under-used site back into productive use’.

The application was originally for a 14-space car park, however one of the parking spaces will now be used as a tree planting area.

A change of use application for the former Methodist Church into a Muslim school is not required because it is within the ‘same use class’, the meeting was told.

Councillor Tim O’Kane said it was a ‘no brainer’.

He told the meeting: “It’s getting used for flytipping and it will clear up a blighted site.

“A positive development has got to be better than no development.”

Coun Melissa Fisher, who lived on Orchard Street 20 years ago, said: “I welcome anything that gets cars into proper designated areas as opposed to trying to to park outside each others houses.”

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Coun Dave Parkins added: “Anything is better than what’s there at the moment.

“It will help get traffic off the side streets and enhance the area.”