THE West Craven Area Committee went against planning advice and unanimously refused plans for 29 homes in Barnoldswick.

The decision to turn down outline plans by Stirling Investment Properties for four two bed, 16 three bed and nine four bed dwellings on land off Long Ing Lane was made at the committee's meeting last Tuesday.

Resident Peter Crompton addressed the committee on behalf of more than 500 objectors.

He highlighted residents' concerns about access, increased traffic and road safety, but also pointed out that neighbouring property owners would be robbed of their environmental amenity.

Councillors were also upset that the developers would not make monetary contributions for local bus stop improvements and open space provision.

Coun Ken Hartley (Lib Dem, Craven) said: "This is a total nonsense application. Twenty per cent of it outside the settlement boundary and the developer won't recognise any Section 106 monies because it will squash their profits."

But Neil Watson, Pendle Council's planning and building control manager, said: "Developers can challenge decisions based on viability. These type of green field sites form the type of development Pendle needs, and we should allow a developer a reasonable profit margin. If these additional contributions would be made, it would then become unviable."

Addressing traffic concerns, Mr Watson added: "It is not an access that denies visibility to drivers. If you do refuse, be clear on why this access is dangerous. The very clear advice is there are no highway grounds to refuse this."

But Coun David Whipp (Lib Dem, Craven) outlined several reasons for refusal.

He said cramming 29 houses on the site would be overshadowing and overbearing for existing properties and a portion of the proposed development site would use land occupied by private street Moss Side, halving a section of the road's width.

He said: "This development is stealing half the highway from these residents. Moss Side is a private street, privately maintained at their expense - it is a highway and is protected by a highways act. As a planning authority, we ought to be protecting that highway."

Committee members unanimously refused the application, but Mr Watson said the decision would be referred to the development management committee, which could overturn it