Ley Allotments at Baxenden near Accrington
Hyndburn Council Development Committee have recently put forward plans for transferring land around the town into areas of "Special Constraint" . This is to identify land for possible future housing development between the years of 2006 and 2011.
A total of 1100 houses are required around various sites in Hyndburn , one of these sites being land which is presently used as smallholdings/allotments at Ley St/Hill St Baxenden. The land in question adjoins Hill St / Victoria Avenue to an area behind the recreation ground.
The total size is 3.5 Hectares which will be built on at the rate of 25 houses per hectare i.e a total of approximately 88 houses. Obviously these are only proposals and are not set in concrete but the fact that the Council are considering building in this part of Baxenden has raised a furore amongst residents.
Not only will these proposals cause a number of allotment holders to be turned off their land but it will deprive the general public of the pleasure they get especially in taking children to see all the animals that are reared in the different 'pens'. Where else in Hyndburn can children see a mixture of goats, sheep, cows, geese, hens, horses etc - all in a relatively small area.
The building of houses would deprive the public of this pleasure and would turn this area of Baxenden into one more overgrown housing estate.
We owe it to our children to see that this land is kept as green belt for their future enjoyment and the enjoyment of future generations. The council should not be allowed to merely draw a line around an area on a map and say "we will build there ..." After all, who pays the Council - surely it is the ratepayers of Hyndburn - they should be working for us and not against us.
What is particularly galling is the way the Council have gone about these proposals. No doubt they have fulfilled all their legal requirements in notification of the proposals but what about their moral obligations? If a resident wants to build a conservatory in his garden he has to approach the Council for planning approval. The Council then write to neighbours to ensure there are no objections before approval is given.
Did the Council do such a thing when it considered it's own proposals? NO IT DID NOT! The least they could have done is to write to the residents of Hill St and also to the tenants of the land to notify them of the proposals. After all, the tenants on the land are tenants of the Council - surely there was a moral obligation for the tenants to be notified.
It appears that the way these proposals have been approached is to 'slip them in' with as little fuss as possible and then at a later date say it is too late for objections.
Other items of concern are the road access to the development site - the roads around Hill St / Hollins Lane/Manchester Rd are already overcrowded. Another 88 houses will treble the amount of traffic .
There is also concern regarding schooling. There are no available schools in the area - the Council's reply to this is that there is room in Accrington schools. Their official statement is that it is in the 'catchment area'. Rubbish ... what parent wants to see their children having to travel down main roads every day - too far to walk - so again transport congestion. This would be from the age of 4 or 5 years as primary school pupils.
The point is that this land was designated as green belt - it should remain so. Let us have some breathing space in the middle of the already overdeveloped Baxenden area. The Council will say that this is only a minimal encroachment on to green belt land - but any encroachment is an outrage and must be prevented.
Residents of Baxenden and allotment holders met on 1st October 1996. The object of the meeting was to form a committee to formally protest to the Council about their objections.
Contact : John Griffiths
Save Our Allotments Committee, Baxenden, Accrington
Letters to Hyndburn Council 6th June 1998 23rd June 1998
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