RESIDENTS said they were ‘absolutely gutted’ after a government inspector approved plans for 504 homes in Barrow.

The Barrow Lands Company Ltd submitted the application to Ribble Valley Borough Council in 2012, and it was taken straight to appeal after running out of time to go before the council’s planning committee.

The Barrow Community Action Group was formed to oppose the application relating to greenfield land at the south-west of Barrow and west of Whalley Road.

Speaking after the Planning Inspectorate gave the go-ahead, Coun Terry Hill, chairman of Ribble Valley planning committee, said: “I’m bitterly disappointed by this decision and it will completely change the face of Barrow.

“The council has played by the rules, which have been ever changing, but the developers were completely determined to force it through. It will destroy the village and it will be a completely different place.”

Sarah Parry, an action group member, said: “I’m absolutely gutted by this decision and we have been totally let down by the council. There is nothing more that we could have done and the council’s representatives were completely outplayed at the appeal hearing.

“The character of Barrow will totally change and people have already started moving out of the village because of the developments being passed.”

The decision comes after 43 homes were approved on the Hanson Garden Centre site, in the village, but the owners said it was an ‘insurance policy’, depending on how the business fares. A further 102 homes for the village were also passed recently. Alongside the costs for fighting the appeal, the council will have to pay costs tow-ards the hearing. Nobody from The Barrow Lands Company was available for comment.