PLANS have been submitted to the council to build eight houses on vacant land which is overrun with Japanese Knotweed.

The application was lodged with Rossendale Borough Council on March 18 by James Kirwin, of First Choice Groundworks and Civils Ltd, and seeks permission to build the eight dwellings on land in Shaw Clough Street, Waterfoot.

The properties would comprise of two detached houses and six semi-detached dwellings, all with three bedrooms over two storeys, with access from Shaw Clough Street and Shaw Clough Road.

However, the plans note there is extensive Japanese Knotweed to the site, which would need treating before any work could begin. 

A planning statement submitted to the council states: "It would be beneficial to eradicate this invasive plant through the development of this site and afford the opportunity to provide new native tree and shrub planting to the site boundaries and planting with ornamental species adjacent to the dwellings."

With that in mind, the applicant is seeking to remove a limited number of trees to enable development, but proposes that compensatory tree planting will be provided (a minimum of two new trees for every tree removed) and suggests a net gain in bio-diversity can be achieved through the development.

A report from the Council's tree consultant adds: "I had no objection in principle but three matters needed to be addressed. 

"These were; a tree survey, a method statement and programme of works for Japanese Knotweed treatment, and a fully detailed landscape scheme.

"An invasive weed management plan specific to Japanese Knotweed has been submitted and should be conditioned to be implemented in full. 

"It is very important this invasive plant species is correctly treated and not retained on site or spread elsewhere."

The planning statement reads: "A new private access would be constructed into the site of sufficient width to allow two cars to pass and with a turning head to allow vehicles to turn within the site and leave in forward gear.

"The houses are proposed to be two storeys high arranged in a linear pattern along the new private roadway.

"Each property will have a driveway with parking for two cars and constructed with permeable block pavings.

"The dwellings will have landscaped rear gardens with opportunity for landscape planting to the easterly boundary.

"The westerly side of the private roadway will be left undeveloped adjacent to Whitewell Brook and provides a further opportunity for landscape planting, and bio-diversity and ecological improvements adjacent to the entrance into the site."

The development is proposed to be in keeping with the terraced properties at nearby Shaw Clough Street and Higher Piercy Mount.

The planning statement continues: "This proposed residential development site is located in a sustainable location and can be brought forward for development immediately.

"Subject to the required planning consents being forthcoming it is the applicant’s intention that the development could be implemented and completed within two years with the houses ready for occupation by March 2023.

"The site is located in a mainly residential area and the construction of new family homes would be in keeping with the surrounding area."

A decision on the proposals will be made by the council's planning department in due course.