PLANS for new bungalows for the over-55s at a Ribble Valley village would spoil a trail honouring Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien and an area of outstanding beauty,  councillors are being advised.

Applicant Lisa Quinn-Jones is seeking outline permission for three new bungalows at The Warren in Hurst Green. She has submitted outline plans to Ribble Valley Council, working with agent Allan Lloyd-Haydock.

But concerns have been raised by residents and planning officers about a feared loss of privacy, impact on wildlife and the village’s appearance, narrow access to the site, potential conflict with existing walkers and the Tolkien Trail.

Tolkien stayed in the area while writing The Lord of The Rings and the six-mile trail begins at Hurst Green. He spent time visiting his son at Stonyhurst College and the area apparently inspired his tales which followed The Hobbit.

Borough planners in the Ribble Valley will consider the application at a meeting tomorrow .

The planning report for councillors adds: “The agent acting on behalf of the applicant has confirmed the units are to be single-storey bungalows, self-build and for over-55s only.

In the application, the land is described as overgrown scrub, previously used for agriculture. The site is not near a stream and would not increase any flood risk.  It cannot be seen from public road, path, bridleway or land, the application adds.

Past plans for a new home at The Warren were withdrawn in 2013. Then another in 2014 was refused, a decision confirmed on appeal.

Borough planning policy says developments outside village boundaries can be considered in some scenarios.

These are if the development is essential to the local economy or social well-being, for forestry or agriculture, for an identified local housing need, for small-scale tourism or recreation appropriate to a rural area, or for other small‐scale uses appropriate to a rural area with the local need or benefit demonstrated.

On the over-55s aspect, a planning officer states: “The applicant has not provided any evidence whatsoever in respect of over-55 housing need in the parish or adjacent parishes that would warrant the proposal being considered as being for an identified and outstanding local need.”

And a planning inspector has previously said the borough's current policies are ‘functioning’ to deliver these types of home, it is said.

The report adds: “In light of the above matters and the absence of any other evidence to suggest otherwise, it cannot be considered the proposal meets any of the exception criterion.”