AN already delayed decision on a proposed new development of 30 homes at a field site at the edge of Barnoldswick has been put back for another month.

West Craven councillors heard the application 'stood or fell' on the proposed new landscaping belt between the urban development off Skipton Road and Meadow Way, and the open countryside.

Planning manager Neil Watson told the West Craven Committee of Pendle Council at its meeting yesterday (Tuesday) in Barnoldswick that the original plan to plant a strong tree belt to the northern boundary had been amended to a softer mix of trees, shrubs and hedge.

He thought the scheme was now acceptable, but added it was marginal, commenting that the landscaping belt would not hide the new housing development, but would 'soften it to a degree'.

The other main amendment to the scheme, following its deferral at the requests of the developers, Tabley Homes at the May meeting of the council, was lowering the height of proposed homes.

A move to go against officer recommendation to approve the application, and instead turn it down because of the proposed landscaping not being good enough, was amended to a deferral after the developers indicated they were willing to undertake further discussions with planning officers.

Committee chair, councillor David Whipp said he was minded to refuse the scheme, which will be close to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and Greenberfield Lock, because he believed 'when in doubt, throw it out' and because the committee had a duty to get the best possible scheme for its residents and for future generations.

He also warned his fellow councillors against being concerned of the possibility of the developers going to appeal - if the application was refused - and the council being ordered to pay costs.

Cllr Whipp said: "We can't stop the development, but I think it is incumbent on us to have the best possible development. We owe it to people in 40 or 50 years time that it looks right on the edge of Barlick."

A resident earlier told the meeting that it seemed that the objections of people had not been taken into account and asked why the public had not been given the opportunity to comment further on amendments.

Richard Walters, for Tabley Homes, said a constructive meeting had taken place with residents and that amendments had been made to address two or three key points - the layout, the boundary treatment and reducing the height of the scheme.

Planning manager, Neil Watson reminded the meeting that outline planning permission had been given for the site, which established the principle of the development and which would have taken into account the local infrastructure, such as highways and services. He added that the Local Flood Authority was happy with the scheme.

Cllr Rosemary Carroll said: "The problem here is we didn't want this in the first place, but we have got it," asking if it was not possible to add conditions to satisfy the concerns of the committee.

The application is due back at the August meeting of the committee after further discussions with the developers.