PROPOSALS for 95 homes in ‘green belt’ moorland have been permitted with tight conditions to protect otters, barn owls, toads, bats and other wildlife.
Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Planning Committee approved the scheme on Waterside Park in Eccleshill.
The project, proposed by furniture firm GFW Ltd, will involve the demolition of their current distribution centre and the nearby Lower Grimshaw Farm while the company will relocate its operations.
The councillors attached 30 conditions including protecting the rare species and mature trees at the site.
The proposal had generated 26 letters of objection concerned about wildlife, road safety, the retention of a footpath, and the impact of new homes on the West Pennine Moors countryside.
West Pennine ward’s Cllr Julie Slater said: “The environmental issues have been addressed however there are concerns about the highways and the number of houses coming to the junction at Roman Road.”
Daniel Hughes, agent for the application, said: “The proposal delivers housing on a brownfield site. It will not cause any detrimental effect on heritage, ecology or transport. It will make effective use of an under-used previously-developed site.”
Borough regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley said: “There’s been an industrial presence on the site since the 1780s.
"The point that all of us are interested in is the wildlife.
"I’ve learnt more about otters from reading the officers’ report than I ever knew. It’s obviously critical that we make sure those very, very detailed conditions are adhered to.”
Paul Marrow said: “I hope the wildlife will be taken into account. I hope the conditions are enforced.”
Darwen East’s Cllr Paul Browne called for protection of the mature trees on the site.
Borough planning manager Gavin Prescott said that the conditions imposed would protect wildlife and trees from harm.
The approval also requires a contribution from any developers of £476,900 towards schools, highway improvements and public open space.