PLANS to build six new homes in the grounds of High Lea, Manchester Road in Barnoldswick have fallen at the first hurdle.

Despite a recommendation to approve permission in principle, West Craven councillors turned the application down on grounds of the development's impact on the landscape.

Councillors at Tuesday's meeting of Pendle Council's West Craven Committee also raised concerns about the sustainability of the proposed development in terms of easy access to services.

The meeting at Barnoldswick's Rainhall Centre heard that the application for Permission in Principle (PIP) was an alternative to normal planning applications and considered just location, land use, and the size of the development.

If allowed, other issues, such as design and highways considerations, would be considered at the 'technical details' application, but the principle would be established.

Neil Watson, the council's assistant director of planning, in his report to committee said: "It is regrettable that there has been no adequate guidance on what this would entail but in basic terms a council can require any necessary details to be considered at the technical stage. The principle could not however be revisited at that stage."

Highways had raised an objection to the proposed development on grounds of its 'detrimental impact on highway safety in the immediate vicinity' but Mr Watson's report stated: "The initial stage of a PIP application allows the local planning authority to consider the location and amount of development. This means that access and highway issues must be reserved for the technical details stage of any application."

Applicant Daryll Barnes' agent, David Poole, urged councillors at the meeting to approve the application, pointing out there was already an approved permission in principle application for one dwelling on the site, that it was 'infill' development, had always been part of the curtilage of High Leas was accessible and would have a 'positive impact on Barnoldswick'.

Committee chair Councillor David Whipp reminded members to limit their concerns to location and land use, and said he was minded to refuse the application because of its impact on the landscape, which Mr Watson said he thought was 'defendable'.

Cllr Whipp said: "I always say, if in doubt, throw it out. The applicant may choose to go to appeal; if it is turned down by a planning inspector, the applicant may come back with another application; it is not the end of the road for the applicant."

Cllr Mick Strickland's proposal to refuse on grounds of landscape impact was agreed by the committee.