BRICKS from the mill chimney at Brook Shed in Earby should be used to build a feature in the new residential development at the site, said West Craven councillors.

Councillors reluctantly agreed to approve plans by Gleeson to build 50 new homes at the former mill in New Road because it will mean the loss of heritage assets, the chimney and engine shed at the site.

Hopes for a new mini roundabout at the junction of New Road and Skipton Road were also dashed because a lack of space and Lancashire County Council saying it was not necessary.

Cllr David Whipp, chair of the West Craven area Committee of Pendle Council, said at yesterday's (Tuesday)  meeting in the Rainhall Centre, Barnoldswick, that the site had been accepted as somewhere to build housing for more than a decade.

And, while he would like to see both the mill chimney and the engine shed retained, it was not attainable, and he feared the developers could walk away if redevelopment of the site proved too expensive, and it could be left for another 15 years looking like a 'bomb-site'.

The meeting heard discussions had taken place with the town council but no viable community use for the engine shed had been possible because of the cost.

Requirements of the Environment Agency had also required a change in the layout of the new homes, none of which will be classed 'affordable' so none were now within a flood risk zone.

Cllr Whipp said: "Ideally, I would have the engine shed and the chimney and housing there. For a decade and a half I have campaigned to get housing in there, it has been a demolition site for too long."

But, the developers had said retaining the chimney and engine shed did not 'stack up financially' and his feeling was they could walk away from the development entirely.

Cllr Sharon Ashley suggested bricks from the mill chimney could be used to build a 'mini-chimney' as a 'nod to the history of the site'.

Those objecting to the development have raised concerns about bats at the site and it being a haven for wildlife, that there should be more green space included and its impact on the conservation area.

But, a report to the committee in recommending approval said: "The development would result in economic and social benefits from the provision of housing, furthermore, the development of this vacant site as a whole will be beneficial to the character and appearance of the area."

Members voted to delegate consent to officers for the agreement of a new pedestrian access and the possible use of bricks from the chimney.

One of the conditions of the planning consent is that before demolition, a professional archaeological recording of the chimney and engine house be undertaken to provide an 'appropriate record'.