BUILDERS have won their bid to call a development of seven new homes and a masonic hall in Barnoldswick after the Victorian vicarage that originally stood on the site.

The development, off Skipton Road, which is still under construction, will be called ‘Kirklands’ after the vicarage that later became a doctors surgery and finally a masonic hall before being demolished last year to make way for the new development.

Some Barnoldswick councillors wanted to name the development after the Rev Richard Milner, who was the vicar of the town from 1836 until his death in 1870 and who lived in the ‘old vicarage’; but the developers opposed the choice because of the shared name with former Barnoldswick councillor, Richard Milner, who was convicted of fraud in 2016.

Platt developments says it has spent 10 long months and three costly court appearances fighting Pendle Council and councillors Tom and David Whipp over the naming of the development and is delighted to have won the legal battle.

At Burnley Magistrates Court on April 22, a deputy district judge ruled in favour of Platt Developments and passed the name Kirklands.

Andrew Platt, director of Platt Developments, said the name Kirklands - church lands - was chosen because it was the original name of the building, when it was bought by the three masonic lodges in 1963.

Mr Platt said: “The new development now called Kirklands has transformed the previous old masonic hall, which over many years had become dishevelled and virtually unusable, with surrounding grounds and walls overgrown and in disrepair making it unsightly and an eyesore to the surrounding area.

“The building of a completely new masonic hall with seven new dwellings for local people underway has not only greatly enhanced the area but will allow the three masonic lodges to continue with the exceptional charity work strive to achieve.”

Mr Platt said the dispute over the name had meant lengthy delays and extensive additional expense, not only to the developers but to the council, which he says will also have incurred substantial costs.

“In the current climate this seems to have been totally unnecessary and council funds could have been spent elsewhere in the town,” he said.

David Lawson, of Donald Race and Newton, Burnley, acting for Platts, said it had been the ‘most ludicrous’ case he had ever been involved with and hoped the council would learn from it.

“Hopefully in the future, if (there is) another case over the naming of a new development, the ward councillors will take into consideration the developers and their views before trying to impose unsuitable names," he said.

“This has been the most ludicrous case I have been involved in, but the outcome was successful and correct.”

Mr Platt added he was grateful to all those in the town who had supported the company in its choice of name.

“I would like to thank everyone who has expressed and shown support over the past 10 months; this on top of everything else that has happened over the past year or more with the pandemic, has caused a great deal of stress and upset, but thanks to the support of Barnoldswick people we have made it through and feel stronger after the court made the right decision.”

Pendle Council did not want to comment on details of the case, but its corporate director, Philip Mousdale, did say: “We confirm that there was a court hearing at which the judge decided the street should be named Kirklands.”

Cllr David Whipp added: “It’s a shame that Rev Milner won’t be remembered at the place where he built his vicarage.

“We’ll try to find another way of honouring him elsewhere in town.”