PLANS for 129 new homes in Burnley are recommended to be approved next week despite widespread concern about the proposals.

Applicants Miller Homes submitted plans to build a new estate at land off Red Lees Road, Cliviger, in April.

A report to go before Burnley Council’s development control committee next week recommends councillors approve the application pending agreement of section 106 contributions.

Dozens of letters of objection were received against the proposals, with concerns raised about pressure on the roads, speeding traffic, visual impact, loss of open space and impact on grade-I listed Towneley Hall.

Burnley Civic Trust, Campaign to Protect Rural England and Cliviger Parish Council were among those voicing opposition

A BCT spokesman said: "There is at present no infrastructure - no sewage provision, water and other services.

"The schools in the area are already completely full and there are no doctors or dentists in the immediate area.

"Red Lees Road is already heavily used as access to the town centre with constant streams of traffic during the day and it can well be envisaged that the estate will probably accommodate over 350 cars and the position will be very much worsened.

"The site is also a special protection area of the South Pennines as it is used by moorland birds such as the curlew for foraging and feeding.

"There are already in the Burnley area sufficient sites suitable for development without extending beyond what was the gateway for the urban area and damaging the rural area of our town.

"It is one of the best aspects of Burnley that it is surrounded by unspoilt countryside and we must ensure that it does not become an urban sprawl."

The site is currently used as farmland and developers say the scheme will be high quality and consist of large three and four bedroom homes.

They say providing smaller, affordable homes would increase the density of the development and have instead proposed paying cash to the council as part of a Section 106 agreement which can be used to fund affordable housing elsewhere in the borough.

If approved, money will also be put towards education, with the level of contribution to be agreed with council officers.

A CPRE spokesman said: " Proper attention to the detail of the scheme must be given in taking a decision with regards to the density, style and materials to reflect local distinctiveness.

"Importantly, adequate affordable housing contributions and community infrastructure should be sought.

"I am aware that locally the development of the site is opposed by residents and the parish council and local opinion must be given weight.

"Trust in the planning system would be eroded if ‘pattern book houses’ are merely ‘copied and pasted’ into the site, without thorough understanding of local concerns.

"For example, I am aware that the site is accessible from Public Rights of Way and we strongly recommend these are woven into the development along with cycle infrastructure.

"It is so important to encourage sustainable travel modes so the development is properly knitted into the existing built environment.

"Highway safety concerns must be addressed to remove the risk of future accidents when accessing from the development onto the highway, which currently has a 50 mph speed limit.

"The climate change consequence of promoting rural development ought to be weighed in to this decision.

"Promoting road based residential schemes will exacerbate the problems associated with climate change from increased greenhouse gases, along with more local problems of noise, loss of tranquility and air pollution."

Despite concerns, planning officer Janet Filbin has recommended councillors be minded to approve subject to Miller Homes entering into a section 106 Agreement relating to education provision and off-site affordable housing

She said: "The proposal seeks to develop a site that is allocated for housing purposes.

"A suitable scheme has come forward that complies with the site specific requirements of the local plan and plan policies.

"Issues relating to the impact of the development on the ecology, on traffic, residential amenities, footpaths and ground conditions have been assessed and can be adequately addressed by conditions and a legal agreement to provide for an education contribution and a sum towards affordable housing provision in Burnley.

"The proposal therefore complies with the development plan and there are no material reasons to outweigh this finding."