A few years ago Stanhill Village became the centre of a major battle between local residents and Barratts Homes. For many years the site of the old Peel Fold Mill had been used by McCormick International to run a food factory providing local employment. However, when McCormick’s closed the factory the site fell into disrepair and neglect. The old ‘Pickle Factory’ as it was known became the target for vandalism and arson. Eventually local residents had enough and at a public meeting urged McCormick’s representatives to demolish the building and sell the land for suitable housing development. In 2007 the site was subject to a proposal by the international building giant Barratt Homes to build 59 houses, including three-story apartments in the heart of historic Stanhill Village. The application was given the green light by council officers but opposed by residents on the grounds that the the density and nature of the development would be incompatible with the character of the area.
A vigorous residents campaign was launched involving a series of public meetings, press coverage and representations at various Council planning meetings. In the face of an appeal by Barratt Homes and with the support of local councillors, MP Greg Pope [who tabled an Early Day motion in Parliament] and advice from North West Planning Aid, the residents were successful in bringing the issue to a full pubic Inquiry held at Accrington Town Hall in February 2008. At the Inquiry local residents packed the public gallery while their representative, Richard Hooper, and three local councillors – Brian Roberts, Doug Hayes and Marlene Howarth – took on the legal and corporate might of Barratt Homes represented by Frances Patterson QC, Head of Kings Chambers in Manchester. In a rare decision against the housing giant the Inspector found for the villagers and the Barratts proposal was turned down. David had once again beaten Goliath!
Following our victory the council commissioned consultants to work with residents to develop a local framework with which future developers of the site will have to conform. This will involve a village green and a much reduced number of dwellings. It was from this campaign that the Residents Association sprang, proving that community spirit is alive and well in Stanhill.
The recession has meant that no further proposals have yet been made to develop the site. We remain vigilant!
Latest Development 10 November 2010
Following complaints from a resident and an approach from the Residents Association, the Council have reported that the landlords of the Pickle Factory site have been contacted to prune the cherry trees. The landlord is also responsible for the state of the paving flags which are in a bad state. The landlord has been instructed to make good repairs to the flags as he has liability for any injuries. The landlord has agreed to take action with a view to getting the trees pruned and the flags repaired.