A NEW road safety row has broken out over a controversial plan to develop the 165 new homes on a gateway site in Blackburn.

In November 2022, councillors approved the housing estate on 20 acres of open green space south of Whalley Old Road, Sunny Bower.

The granting of permission with conditions for the mix of affordable homes and two to five-bedroomed properties for sale on the open market by Blackburn with Darwen Council planning committee was opposed by opposition councillors.

They expressed concern over the ability of Whalley Old Road to handle the extra traffic that would result from the housebuilding by Vistry Partnerships.

The Sunny Bower Community Group formed to oppose the development submitted an objection to the meeting which said: "We firmly believe that the current layout of the proposed development along with the proposed access points and road narrowing should be revised."

Now Vistry subsidiary Countryside Partnerships Ltd has asked Thursday's meeting of the planning committee to discharge Condition 17 of the November 2022 approval regarding the road.

But the community group have objected to the move claiming it will result in the unacceptable narrowing of Whalley Old Road making future traffic problems worse.

Its objection states: "Our initial objection was not discussed in full at the November 2022 meeting as planning manager Gavin Prescott advised the council that the footpath was being incorporated into the development and there would be no narrowing of Whalley Old Road.

"We firmly believe that road should not be narrowed.

"Traffic calming in the form of speed bumps, chicanes, road hatching, whilst more costly, we believe would be far more beneficial than simply narrowing the road.

"Blackburn with Darwen Council recently announced a proposal to introduce a further 1,500 dwellings on the North East Blackburn Strategic Housing Site which will be accessed from Whalley Old Road via the new roundabout junction.

"We would ask how is it feasible to narrow what is an already extremely busy road when the plan is to drastically increase the amount of traffic that will be using it?"

Iain Sykes, chair of the Sunny Bower Community Group, said: "Our concerns have continually been brushed aside.

"It is simply astounding that an already very busy road is being narrowed under the guise of “traffic calming” when they intend to push another 1,000 cars or more onto the same road with new homes intended to be built by 2026.”

A report by Mr Prescott to Thursday's meeting says: "There is, however, a small section of the new footway (five metres in length) pulled into the carriageway.

"The point where this occurs, Whalley Old Road, is wide and the introduction of a small section of footway into the carriageway is considered to be without detriment to highway safety or the free flow of traffic.

"Indeed, the width reduction at this point supports the overall concept of traffic calming.

"Together with the placement of a pedestrian refuge island and a reduction in speed conforms to the traffic calming requirement of condition 17."