Concern at plan for old mill site

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It would be good to see an old mill site developed – but at what cost to the community?

That was an issue raised by proposals for the former Chipping chair works site at Kirk Mill when more than 170 residents attended a public meeting on development plans.

Hosted by the parish councils of Chipping and Bowland-with-Leagram, and chaired by parish councillor Stuart Fletcher, the meeting scrutinised the planning application – described as “massive” with 60 documents and over 1,500 pages – and lodged by developer SCPi Bowland (previously 53N).

The plan includes changing the Grade II listed Arkwright mill building into an 18-bed hotel with bar and restaurant, build seven holiday cottages and another 20-bed hotel with spa, wedding venue, kids club and trailhead centre.

It would also see a change of use of Malt Kiln House from residential, construction of a new cricket pavilion, the demolition of the group of derelict factory buildings and outline planning permission for 60 residential dwellings, split over two sites.

During a constructive discussion, residents raised around 50 key points, including ones covering highway matters, safety, education, access, transport, infrastructure, commercial viability of the hotel development and a significant concern about over-development of the village.

Concerns were also voiced on the lack of progress on approved refurbishment plans for the Talbot Hotel, and proposals for 56 homes on the current cricket field – now registered as a community asset and formerly owned by HJ Berry & Son, the club being founded in 1950.

Coun Fletcher reminded residents of the Village Plan published in 2011, which highlighted the desire to develop the Kirk Mill site, the wish to restrict housing developments to no more than 10 properties in any one development area of Chipping and Leagram, not to use green field sites and, in particular, to retain the cricket ground as a sporting amenity.

Coun Simon Hore, the village’s representative on Ribble Valley Council, said residents should send comments to the council’s planning department by April 19 or email planning@ribble 
valley., referring to application ref 3/2014/0183