A plan for a two-storey farm building in the Rossendale green belt has prompted objections including worries about the impact on neighbouring homes, flooding risks and a claim the site has not been used for agriculture for 30 years.

However, council planning officers say there is evidence of farming and the application is acceptable.

Rossendale Council’s Development Control Committee is being recommended to approve the plan to construct the stone and wood-clad building at Fold Head Farm, Hall Fold in Whitworth.

The site is on the edge of Whitworth, at the end of Hall Street and near a bridleway, a planning report states. The new building would measure 20 metres by 10 metres. It would be used for general storage including hay, lambing and sheep fattening.

Fold Head Farm covers 15 acres and is irregularly shaped, the report adds.

Applicant Michaela Hayhurst currently has a small sheep flock there which she intends to increase. Steven Hartley is acting for her as a planning agent.

Rossendale Council planning officers are recommending approval with various conditions. But the building plan has raised some objections.

Concerns include narrow access to the farm which is reportedly in a poor condition and that there is no mention of development in the area using a recently-laid private road for construction traffic. Other worries include increased traffic and noise; and feelings the new building would be better on another location for less visual impact.

Another objection is a claim that Fold Head Farm is not an agricultural business, has not been a working farm for over 30 years, and is classed as a domestic property, This, according to the objector, raises concerns why a building of this size is needed in the green belt.

Other concerns include an alleged lack of information about water for livestock and safeguarding the existing water for local residents. There are also queries about the number of livestock to be housed in the building. surface water drainage, a bridleway and access to other farm land further up New Road.

However, Rossendale planning officers say the application is acceptable.

The report states: “Some objectors have questioned the need and size of the building proposed, commenting that Fold Head Farm is not in agricultural use.

“In this case, the applicant has set out their reasoning for requiring the building and there is no evidence before the case [planning] officer that this reasoning is not sound.

“At the time of the officer’s visit to Fold Head Farm, the field where the proposed building would be located contained (albeit relatively few) grazing sheep or lambs. The applicant’s intention is to increase the size of their flock. Whilst the farm contains an existing barn, it is of traditional construction and limited in its overall size.

“If in future the building is used without the required planning permission for non-agricultural purposes, then the authority would have the powers to take enforcement action.”

Planning officers also say the application is acceptable in the green belt. The building would not unduly harm the visual appearance, nor detract from the amenities of neighbours, create any undue highway safety concerns or further deterioration of Hall Street and the bridleway.

Once the new building has been substantially completed but before it is used, a  survey of the Hall Street-bridleway route must to be sent to the council. The survey should show all the defects and weather conditions at the time of the survey. Also the Hall Street-bridleway route should be reinstated to a condition no worse than before work started.

Rossendale’s development committee meets on Tuesday, June 27, in Bacup.