A £29.6 million bid is to be made to government to allow one of East Lancashire’s biggest-ever housing developments to go ahead.

The cash is needed to help turn the £100m plus Huncoat Garden Village of 1,816 new homes into reality.

Hyndburn Council's cabinet on Wednesday approved the grant application to Homes England's Infrastructure Fund.

The decision came despite former Huncoat councillor and borough planning chairman Dave Parkin's concerns that building hundreds of new homes before a link road was built would put too much pressure on the area's 'terrible' road network.

The cabinet meeting approved a report from the council's head of regeneration Mark Hoyle recommending approval of the bid.

Lancashire Telegraph: An artist's impression of part of the new developmentAn artist's impression of part of the new development

It said: "Huncoat Garden Village forms a major part of Hyndburn Council’s growth plans including a once in a lifetime opportunity to diversify Hyndburn’s housing offer and provide new housing in a fabulous landscape setting.

"The Garden Village is a game changing opportunity for market making housing in Hyndburn, at a scale that not only helps the borough retain those households that otherwise would leave to meet their housing aspirations elsewhere, but also attract new economic households to the borough."

On October 20, 2021, cabinet approved the Huncoat Garden Village Masterplan framework and Infrastructure Delivery Strategy.

The key elements promoted by the masterplan framework over the next 15 years include:

  • delivery of 1,816 new homes, including 312 beyond 2036;
  • a new residential relief/distributor road linking Huncoat Garden Village directly with the A56;
  • provision to expand Huncoat Junior School (or an option to build a new school);
  • a new village centre at the junction of Lower Gate Road, Altham Lane and Station Road which will link the existing Huncoat Village with the Garden Village area providing local facilities including shops and car parking within walking distance for all households;
  • railway station improvements including significant car parking;
  • 40 hectares of improved open space including 24 hectares of safeguarded land for a potential Biological Heritage site;
  • a new state of the art full size 4G football pitch with flood lighting and a nine-a-side grass pitch;
  • seven formal and seven informal play areas.

Lancashire Telegraph: Further artist's impressionsFurther artist's impressions

The report continued: "The Masterplan Framework and Infrastructure Delivery Strategy was subject to high-level viability analysis.

"It was concluded there was a headline viability funding gap likely to be in the region of £25 million.

"The council proposes to make a funding submission of circa £29.6 million to Homes England."

If successful, the almost £30m would be used in the following ways:

  • £6.8m for delivery of the relief/distributor road;
  • £4.5m contribution to delivery of Junction 8 M65 upgrades; and
  • £18.3m for abnormal costs for site remediation on the two brownfield development areas.

Lancashire Telegraph: More than 1,800 homes are set to be built on the siteMore than 1,800 homes are set to be built on the site

The report added: "New highway infrastructure would be required to the east of the masterplan area once 400 new housing units had been constructed.

"Subsequently, the masterplan was developed with a new road at Huncoat linking the Western Roundabout of the A679 Burnley Road / A56 with Altham Lane.

"This basically requires a new road of 1.1 mile in length, a new roundabout access spur and a new signalised junction on Altham Lane.

"The overall cost of the proposed relief road is £6.76 million.

"National Highways consider Junction 8 of the M65 and Shuttleworth Mead at the Junction of the A6068 / A678 at very near or full capacity with the development proposals for Huncoat Garden Village very likely to lead to further pressure on both junctions and increased queuing beyond acceptable safety levels.

"National Highways, has made it clear it cannot support further major planning applications for development without an agreed funding solution for junction improvements at Junction 8 and Shuttleworth Mead.

"The costs are now considered to be in the region of £8.5 million.

"Two of the significant development sites are the former Huncoat Power Station site and the former Huncoat Colliery site. Costs indicate an overall site remediation cost of £18.32 million.

"An Infrastructure Funding Bid to Homes England of circa £29.6 million is proposed by the end of October 2022."

At the meeting Hyndburn Council leader Cllr Miles Parkinson told Mr Parkin that with or without the new link road up to 450 homes with outline planning permission could still be built.

Mr Parkin said: "The roads infrastructure around Huncoat is terrible. This is not good enough. I am not happy."