Heavy rains have caused unprecedented levels of water to drain off the McDermott building site on the Lower Rough, Colne. Residents have written to Pendle Borough Council voicing their worries about excessive run-off and flooding. This is the latest issue in a catalogue of problems to beset the controversy laden site in Eastern Colne.
I have called on Pendle Borough Council to closely monitor the new houses being built off Windermere Avenue. I have also previously written directly to the developer, McDermott Homes, raising concerns about possible breaches of the planning conditions. The response received was disingenuous with regard to legally parked residents’ cars being winched out of the way and livestock still not being removed from the construction area. No culpability was admitted on behalf of the sub-contractors being employed, but a lack of adherence to good practice was acknowledged. The letter from McDermott concluded by outlining the benefits to the area of this £15 million speculative development, especially how it will provide “much needed quality housing to local families and the wider community”.
However, residents have continued to raise issues about the development site, including possible planning condition and general planning breaches.
A huge amount of work was put in by Councillors and Planning Officers three years ago to ensure the planning conditions were strong enough to ensure the development would have minimum impact on residents and that this would be an architecturally sympathetic development in a site that is partly inside the Lidgett and Bents Conservation Area and abuts the East Colne Way. However, the early operation of this development hasn’t gone well, so it’s now imperative that Pendle Council proactively monitor and enforce the necessary planning conditions. The recent increase in clay-laden water run-off is a grave worry to existing residents.
Several residents have contacted me to raise numerous concerns, as the Council has been perceived to be slow to act with the Planning Department seemingly unwilling to enforce what are considered to be minor infringements.
“With water run-off worse than has been seen before”, said Cllr David Cockburn-Price, chairman of the trustees of the Lidgett & Beyond charity, a well-supported community group, “we are determined to keep a very close eye on the operation of this development and have sought repeatedly to be involved in both the discharge of the planning conditions and other decision-making that affects our area. Sadly, engagement by McDermott has been sporadic at best. The excess clay is blocking people’s drains and could be potentially damaging their houses, whilst the excess run-off risks spreading the Japanese Knotweed that still hasn’t been eradicated”