MORE than 350 people have signed a petition objecting to the building of 12 new homes on ‘low quality’ public amenity space in Earby, and have called for it to be handed over to the town council as a conservation area.

An additional more than 30 letters of objection have been sent to Pendle Borough Council commenting on developers Pearl Together’s plans to build the three bed, semi-detached homes on land west of playing fields off Bailey Street.

In a design and access statement to the council’s planning department, its architects, Liberata Architects, says while the site is described as ‘amenity greenspace’ it lacks any specific value or importance and of the 27 greenspaces in Earby, it has the fifth lowest quality score.

The statement says because of the area’s close proximity to Bailey Street and its lack of a protective fencing, it means it is impractical for either ball games, or walking dogs off the lead. It further points out that due to the ‘rural nature’ of the town, there is a significant amount of natural greenspace, or open countryside, within a quarter of a mile of the village boundary.

The architects go on to say, there is a requirement to build 540 homes before 2028 in Earby and Barnoldswick combined, which shows a great need and market demand for general housing need in West Craven towns.

But residents of houses on two sides of the proposed development site, which is owned by Pendle Council, but declared surplus to requirements, say is is not a suitable site for an ‘intensive’ development, as has Earby Town Council.

In a letter to planners, the town council’s chief executive, Katie Jeffreys, says there is a shortfall of green space in Earby and development of such spaces should be resisted. There are also concerns over flooding, and that additional traffic generated by the new homes will only add to what is already a congested area.

“The proposed development is opposite a school and would cause issues for residents as the road would become very busy. It also must be considered that any building work will have serious safely issues for people getting to and from the school. There is currently a public footpath that runs through the proposed development area which is frequently used by children to gain access to the school without having to access busy roads, building on this site would mean the destruction of this footpath.”

The petition, signed by 348 ‘residents of Earby’ says the land is unsuitable for intensive development and should instead be transferred to Earby Town Council to be developed into a conservation area for the benefit of the town.

Objectors also point out there are numerous more suitable brownfield sites which should be developed first and that there is also an ‘abundance’ of empty homes in Earby.

If the area was to be developed as a conservation area, they say it would benefit the school, it would be a place for nature to thrive, a safe place for residents and children, and would be an asset to the town.

A spokesperson for Pendle Borough Council confirmed that the land was owned by the council but had been declared surplus to requirements. The planning application is currently going through the process and is awaiting a decision date.