THE ambitious £34million redevelopment of Brierfield Mill has been approved by council planners.

The Northlight scheme, which includes a 78-bed luxury hotel and spa, a leisure centre and four retail units, was debated for 90 minutes by Pendle Council’s Brierfield and Reedley committee on Tuesday.


They approved the project, but councillors called for an urgent meeting with the applicant, Pendle Enterprise and Regeneration Limited (Pearl), to discuss the wider implications of the development on Brierfield town centre.

Labour councillors Robert Allen, Mohammed Hanif and Yasser Iqbal were among those who decried Pearl’s decision not to send a representative to the meeting at Brierfield Town Hall.

Cllr Hanif said Pearl had made verbal promises regarding public realm and town centre studies, which were nowhere to be seen in the planning application.

He said: “We have no problem with this but we need Pearl to agree on paper what they agreed with us before. We all know how critical this development is. We are all in favour but we are also in favour of people sticking to their word.”

Planning officer Neil Watson advised the committee that delays to planning approval would play ‘Russian Roulette’ with the financing of the scheme.

The Grade II-listed mill, formerly home to Smith and Nephew, was awarded £1million through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund programme last week.

Lancashire County Council, English Heritage and the Environment Agency had raised concerns about traffic, building materials and drainage provisions, but planning chiefs said these factors had been addressed.

Pendle’s Conservative MP, Andrew Stephenson, said: “I’m delighted.

“One of the final hurdles has now been removed and I think everyone is looking forward to work beginning on the site.”

Cllr Naeem Ashraf said he hoped to meet with members of Pearl, a joint venture between Pendle Council and Barnfield Investment Properties, later this week.

Pearl board member and Pendle Council leader, Cllr Joe Cooney, said: “We’re pleased the application for the Brierfield Mill scheme received planning consent this week.”

A separate scheme for a 60-bed retirement village on the site, known as Evermore, did not form part of the approved application.