A PLANNED housing development behind a church has been rejected by Pendle councillors, who criticised advice from County Hall highways officers.

In the planning report for the seven-house scheme behind St Michael’s Church, in Skipton Road, Foulridge, Lancashire County Council’s highways department said vehicles would have to mount the kerb when accessing the development through Burwains Avenue – but this would improve safety along the small cul-de-sac.

A number of residents in neighbouring Burwains Avenue and Alma Avenue spoke out against the plans at the Colne Area Committee meeting.

In the report, LCC’s highways advice said: “The carriageway along Burwains Avenue is narrow and as pointed out by the local residents, cars travelling on this road are unable to pass without one of them mounting the verge/footway.

“This type of highway environment has the effect of slowing down traffic and forcing drivers to drive with caution.

“This behaviour tends to enhance rather than adversely affect highway safety.”

But councillors voted to reject the scheme on highways grounds as they felt access to the development through Burwains Avenue wasn’t suitable.

Coun Joe Cooney said: “The advice from highways doesn’t make any sense. How can a car mounting the kerb make it safer?”

Coun Graham Waugh added: “This is going to make a bad situation even worse.”

Rita Stevenson, a resident of Burwains Avenue, said: “It doesn’t say how many people will live there.

“The development will include seven four-bedroom detached houses. It could be another 43 people and a possible 18 cars.

“With current residents this could be 103 people and 62 cars using one route down Alma Avenue to Burwains.

“Burwains is a cul-de-sac which is narrow and crowded and unsuitable for this development.”

Rachel Crompton, developer support manager for Lancashire County Council, said: “Our highways advice on this planning application should not be interpreted as being that we regard it as safe for people to drive on the pavement.

“Our advice was that the existing situation is much less than ideal with drivers being forced to drive with caution as a result of the very narrow carriageway which means cars typically can’t pass without having to slow down or stop and pull on to the pavement.

“As a result, we asked that a condition be applied for the developer to pay for improvements to Burwains Avenue and Alma Avenue to provide a number of passing places, and that if these works were not carried out we would object on grounds of safety.”