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‘Absolutely livid’ Blackburn residents to challenge homes approval

A GROUP of ‘absolutely livid’ residents are seeking to challenge the approval by councillors for a new 29 home housing estate.

On Thursday night Blackburn with Darwen Planning Committee granted permission for the scheme on Lomond Gardens in Cherry Tree.

Their decision followed the borough’s Executive Board approving the sale of the land to McDermott Homes the previous week and transfer of public open space off Old Gates Drive to the developer despite 60 objections from nearby residents.

The committee approved the planning application for the houses despite opposition from Stephanie Robinson, who had raised a 119 signature petition from householders on the Rannoch Drive estate, Conservative councillors Paul Marrow and Jaqui Slater, and Liberal Democrat Paul Browne.

Mrs Robinson told the meeting that she was ‘absolutely livid’ at the recommendation by officers to approve the application, saying they had ignored the wishes of residents regarding access to the proposed estate.

She said: “This is the tail wagging the dog. The council should listen to residents not dismiss their views.”

Cllr Marrow and Cllr Slater accused Labour councillors and planning officers of ‘pre-determining the application’.

Cllr Browne said: “This council is going about house building the wrong way. We are losing field after field after field. It is going to be a concrete borough with no greenery at all.”

After the meeting Mrs Robinson said: “If we were absolutely livid before, we are even more so now.

“Our views were just dismissed and ignored. The council has been paid £1million for the land and we think this decision was pre-determined.

“We do not want access to the new estate through Rannoch Drive where vehicles will be a danger to children playing.

“I am now looking at a legal challenge to the approval.”

Cllr Phil Riley Blackburn with Darwen Council’s growth boss, said: “We have listened to the residents.

“We have changed the access to the estate from Old Gates Drive and will use a temporary road from Green Lane, built for important culverting work to protect 41 homes from flooding, for construction traffic because of residents’ concerns.

“We have also legally protected the public open space with a covenant.

“The application was not predetermined as the changes made during the application process show. I am confident the decision by the committee is absolutely in order.

“We have not received any money yet from McDermott Homes. This site is a miniscule proportion of the 40 per cent of the borough which is green land.”

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