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Wellybobs petting farm moorland homes scheme approved

THE transformation the site of the former Wellybobs petting farm into a moorland housing estate has been given approval despite concerns about road safety, developing green belt land and lack of children’s play areas.

Blackburn with Darwen Council planning committee granted permission for the scheme by Applethwaite Homes to build homes on 3.89 acres of land in Eccleshill above Darwen.

In return the firm will repair the 17th century Grade II-listed Davy Field Farmhouse.

Councillors approved the scheme despite Matthew Jackson attending Thursday’s meeting to object to the new homes on green belt land.

West Pennine ward Conservative councillor Julie Slater also appeared before the committee to express concerns about traffic and road safety calling for new marking on Flash Corner on Johnson Road near the site.

She is also called for investment in new equipment and maintenance for Eccleshill play area and field for children of families moving into the new estate and already living in the village.

Planning manager Gavin Prescott said that while the site was in the green belt, it had been previously used by Wellybobs and as such was ‘brownfield’ land where new development was permitted.

While retaining the original farmstead, Applethwaite Homes will demolish newer buildings, replacing them with 19 three to four-bedroomed family houses with a courtyard design set back from Roman Road behind a green with a pond.

Wellybobs – a family attraction with alpacas, cattle, reptiles and guinea pigs – closed in November 2017 after seven years.

Conditions imposed on the approval specify a payment to the council by Applethwaite Homes, part of the Eric Wright Group, of £125,315 including £40,000 for education provision and £84,074 for affordable housing.