An application to demolish a former farm shop and replace it with 12 three-bedroom houses has been refused.  

Plans were submitted to Pendle Council in June seeking permission to demolish buildings on the site of Roaming Roosters, off the Padiham bypass between Higham and Fence, to make space for 12 homes and 26 parking spaces.

The brownfield site originally opened as a butchers before becoming a farm education centre incorporating offices, preparation areas and workspaces for management.

A cafe, farm shop and wildlife pond with associated parking for 160 vehicles were developed, before the business closed in 2018.

However, following submission of the housing plans, hundreds of objections were made by neighbouring residents as well as Higham with West Close Booth and Parish of Old Laund Booth Parish Councils.

Lancashire Telegraph: A sketch of the proposed schemeA sketch of the proposed scheme (Image: Council)

The main concerns raised by the Parish Councils, who submitted joint responses, were "the devastating effect this application will have on the greenbelt".

They said: “Also, there is also no real evidence of need for these houses and the number applied for exceeds Pendle's own demand for housing in the Housing Needs Assessment for Higham, which we understand is currently eight.

“There appears to be no affordable housing provision and poor renewables, in that although heat source pumps are planned, where are the solar panels to work with the pumps and where are the electric charging points etc.?”

Residents cited local services "already being overwhelmed", damage to nearby listed buildings, increased traffic in neighbouring villages, parking problems, school places, and the impact of flooding as major concerns.

While a report to the planning committee was made by planning officers which recommended the application be granted, it was refused in full on November 18.

Reasons for refusal were stated as: “The proposed development would have a greater impact on the openness of the greenbelt than the existing development.

“It would not preserve the openness of the greenbelt and would thus amount to inappropriate development.

“The development is larger and more spread out than the existing development and thus the development does not accord with any exceptions set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.

“The development would create an urbanising feature which would erode the visual qualities and rural character of the locality and would be visually damaging to the area.”