SENIOR councillors have rejected a controversial planning application for 129 new homes over fears of flooding in nearby towns.

Pendle Council’s Policy and Resources Committee refused planning permission for the new housing estate in Barnoldswick despite a warning the developer might win an appeal against the decision.

The detailed proposal for the site of the former Barnsay Mill in Long Ing Lane, from developer Seddon Homes Ltd followed the granting of outline planning permission for up to 148 homes in 2016.

Opposition to the scheme at Wednesday night’s meeting was led by Craven ward councillor and Liberal Democrat group leader David Whipp and his Coates ward son Cllr Tom Whipp.

They said the scheme would increase the already high risk of flooding in nearby Salterforth and Earby.

This was despite the Earby and Salterforth Internal Drainage Board not objecting subject to conditions.

Cllr Tom Whipp said the low level part of the site was a floodplain which acted as natural water storage. He said the new scheme would just push the water down faster to Salterforth and Earby where it would increase the risk of flooding to homes, which had previously suffered floods.

Mike O’Brien, representing Seddon Homes, told councillors the plans to attenuate the flood risk using a deeply buried pump would actually reduce the risk of flooding in the two towns not increase it.

He said the proposals to drain the water away, preferably into either the Leeds-Liverpool Canal or an improved drainage culvert, would reduce the water run off from the site from the current 94 litres per second to 40.

Mr O’Brien added flood risk and drainage would be controlled by planning conditions.

Cllr David Whipp said: “I am absolutely appalled that this application is here in its current form. This is a flood plain.

“We should not be concerned about the run off rate from the site but the run on rate down to Salterforth and Earby.

“This is an abhorrence which will lead to more flooding there.”

Pendle Council planning manager Neil Watson warned refusing permission risked the council losing an appeal to government planning inspectors and facing a substantial bill for costs.

He said: “Subject to appropriate conditions, the proposed development would not be at unacceptable risk of flooding or unacceptably increase the risk of flooding off-site and is therefore acceptable in terms of drainage and flood risk.”

His view was backed by Horsfield Conservative Jonathan Nixon who said the council would be ‘on a sticky wicket’ if the developer appealed a refusal of planning permission.

The committee rejected the application by eight votes to three with two abstentions on a grounds of unacceptable flood risk.