Council planners in Rossendale have ruled that the development of a three-bedroom 'eco-home' in open countryside can go ahead.

Rossendale council's development control committee heard that the applicants, a couple who have lived in Goodshaw Fold, Loveclough for 42 years, were seeking to "downsize" to a smaller property suitable for their retirement.

The proposal for the site, adjacent to the Vicarage, on Goodshawfold Road and which adjoins the village's conservation area, had received 14 expressions of support and 13 objections.

There were no objections from statutory consultees, however residents also approached the Limey Valley Residents Association with concerns that the development fell outside the Urban Boundary and that the boundary could become “flexible” as granting permission could set a precedent.

Coun Julie Adshead sought clarity on whether the proposal would be a zero-carbon property, and whether a planning consent would make it easier for so-called 'ribbon development' in future.

Rossendale Council's development control committee approved the plans

Planning manager Mike Atherton told the meeting that officers felt the scheme's planning balance weighed in favour of the development, and that its adverse impacts did not outweigh the benefits.

He added: "There's an accepted principle in planning that just because there's a development next door doesn't set a precedent. Each proposal is different."

Zara Moon, of Zara Moon Architects, said the precise location of the site - which would "take a small bite out of the field", combined with the special circumstances of the applicants made it unique.

She said: "It will sit between the urban and rural properties. Whilst the new property will be visible on travelling out of the village, the current view is one of the uninspiring Vicarage - therefore the new view will be an improvement.

"We have positioned it so it doesn't affect any of the views. We retain all the views, and maximise the aspect."

She added that the applicants were "passionate" about the village, and building a "high quality, sustainable" rural property aspiring to passivhaus standards, which the council's conservation officer had felt would leave the important views of the area unaltered.

Coun Patrick Marriott said he saw some "minor issues" about the division between the settlements remaining separate, however on balance he was minded to approve the plan.

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