6. Housing and Local Neighbourhoods



Housing in Burnley is characterised by stark contrasts. Many areas provide a good quality of life within a pleasant residential environment. Often close by these are other areas where the standard of housing is poor, the surrounding environment and the quality of life relatively low.


These lower quality areas, of mostly pre-1919 terraced housing, have a number of problems:

  • Low demand and crude over supply of pre-1919 terraced housing;
  • High vacancy levels - the overall vacancy level is currently 9.8% and continues to steadily rise;
  • Low property values;
  • Poor housing conditions and high levels of unfitness. Estimates suggest that 33% of private sector pre-1919 terraced houses are unfit for habitation;
  • Poor surrounding environment;
  • Social problems such as crime, vandalism, drug and alcohol abuse; and
  • Overcrowding, particularly of ethnic minority households.

Overall these problems combine together to create a lack of confidence in an area’s future and when this happens people begin to leave and the spiral of decline continues. To begin to address the problems associated with housing market collapse in our inner urban neighbourhoods, the Council has, along with Blackburn, Hyndburn, Pendle and Rossendale, been included within the East Lancashire Housing Market Restructuring Pathfinder. As a consequence, the Government has committed, initially over the next three years, to providing substantial resources to attempt to stop, and eventually, reverse the spiral of decline. Longer term funding from the Government will be dependent on the progress made in the pathfinder area over the next three years.


The problems outlined above do not occur in all areas of terraced housing and in many cases such areas of housing continue to provide well maintained housing and a relatively attractive environment.


As well as addressing housing issues associated with the existing housing stock the Local Plan also sets land use policy for new housing development. The Local Plan must:

  • seek to meet the housing needs of the whole community, including the elderly, disabled, single people and ethnic minorities;
  • seek to create mixed and balanced communities;
  • provide a mix of housing types for a range of needs and lifestyles;
  • meet the Borough’s housing requirement as defined in the Lancashire Structure Plan;
  • Plan, Monitor and Manage housing development over the plan period;
  • ensure that by 2008 at least 60% of new housing development takes place on brownfield land;
  • ensure sustainable patterns of development;
  • avoid the inefficient use of the land within urban areas through the encouragement of higher density housing development; and
  • provide high-quality living environments in which people will choose to live, by promoting good design, relating new development to the surrounding area and placing the needs of pedestrians before the ease of traffic movement.


Key Aim 3 of the Burnley Local Plan Strategy aims to produce better quality houses and spaces. The policies and proposals of the Burnley Local Plan will achieve this in a number of ways. The Council will seek to ensure all new housing development takes place within the existing urban boundary, and wherever possible this will be on brownfield land, or in converted buildings. Locations for new housing will have to be well related to existing public transport infrastructure, jobs and services. The only exception to this will be small infill sites within named settlements and conversion of existing buildings in rural areas.


In planning for better living spaces and neighbourhoods the emphasis will be on quality in terms of design, materials, energy efficiency, security and safety. All new housing will be expected to contribute to the need for open space provision.


The town’s most unattractive housing areas will be singled out for specific attention and action. These areas will be priority areas for regeneration activity and will be the focus for a series of Area Action Plans, which the Council intends to adopt as Development Plan Documents. The objective will be to produce attractive residential areas with good quality homes, where people are proud to live, without fear of crime, vandalism or anti-social behaviour, and where open space, shops and other services, and jobs are easily accessible.



In pursuit of this strategy the Burnley Local Plan’s Housing policies have been developed to achieve a number of objectives set out in Key Aim 3 of the Action Strategy. These objectives are defined below. Targets have been set to measure performance in achieving these objectives.


The Monitoring and Review section of the plan outlines in more detail how the Council will measure performance against the Plan’s objectives and targets.


OBJECTIVE H1 - To provide a decent home for all

  • Target H1a – To allocate land for 1242 new units – 90% of new housing to be provided on previously developed land.
  • Target H1b – At least 10% of dwellings on sites above 0.4ha to be affordable
  • Target H1c – At least 10% of new housing units to be lifetime homes on sites above 0.4ha.
  • Target H1d – All new housing developments of at least 0.4ha or 10 dwellings will provide a mix of housing types, sizes and tenures.

OBJECTIVE H2 - To secure quality and design in all new housing development

  • Target H2a – All new housing units in areas of traditional construction will be of a scale, form and detailing that respects local traditional construction.

OBJECTIVE H3 - To improve security and safety

OBJECTIVE H4 - To ensure all housing areas have adequate open  pace, and access to shops and services

  • Target H4a – All new housing development of 10 units or more will be within 400 metres of existing local shops and community facilities.
  • Target H4b – All new housing development of 50 houses or more will include recreational open space to a minimum standard of 0.3 ha per 50 dwellings or a proportion thereof.

OBJECTIVE H5 - To ensure that all new housing is accessible by public transport

  • Target H5a – All new housing development of 10 units or more will be linked to public transport and be within 400 metres of a bus stop.

OBJECTIVE H6 - To regenerate the most deprived areas of housing

  • Target H6a – To reduce vacancy levels by 50% by 2010
  • Target H6b – To reduce the proportion of unfit dwellings by 50% by 2010.
  • Target H6d – areas identified in Policy H9 will stabilise/retain their population by 2011.
  • Target H6e – areas identified in Policy H9 will see an increase in average house prices of 25% by 2011.

OBJECTIVE H7 - To reduce or eliminate environmental problems and nuisance

  • Target H7a – 10 small scale environmental projects implemented by 2011.
  • Target H7b – Increase the number of Home Zones/20 mph zones by 100% by 2011.


This section includes the Council’s land use policies and proposals for housing and local neighbourhoods. Each policy is numbered (H1, H2, H3 etc.), and is followed by any land use specific proposals (numbered H1/1, H1/2 etc.), which are also shown on the Proposals Map, and areasoned justification. The reasoned justification explains why the Council have included a particular policy in the Local Plan.


The Burnley Local Plan will plan, monitor and manage housing provision at five yearly intervals in order to meet the housing requirement of the Joint Lancashire Structure Plan 2001-2016. Over the period 2003 – 2016 the Council have allocated the sites listed below for housing development.

The Council will, on an annual basis, monitor housing land development and changes in the population. This monitoring will inform the management of the housing supply within the contextof the Joint Lancashire Structure Plan 2001-2016 and Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West. Following annual monitoring the Council will, when necessary, manage the housing land supply by reviewing Policy H1 of the Burnley Local Plan at a maximum of 5 yearly intervals.

Additional dwellings may be required to replace those cleared over the Plan period. In order to facilitate housing market renewal and regeneration, these additional dwellings would be located within the Housing Market Intervention Area shown on the Proposals Map in line with the planning framework prepared for the area. Part of the Housing Market Intervention Area is currently covered by area development frameworks (Neighbourhood Action Plans). See also Policy H9



  • H1/1 – St. Margarets, Hapton (1.71 ha).
  • H1/2 – Land at Culshaw Street (1.4 ha).
  • H1/3 – Land at Clevelands Road/Hawthorne Road (0.60 ha).


  • H1/4 – Land off Manchester Road, Burnley, (0.44 ha).


  • H1/5 – Lowerhouse Lane (0.50ha.).


H1/6 – Victoria Mill (0.34 ha.).

This Listed Building within the Weavers’ Triangle is considered suitable for a range of uses including general industrial (B2), business (B1), canal related leisure and tourism uses and residential. A suitable mix of these uses may also be acceptable. See also General Policy Proposal GP4/3, Economy and Work Proposal EW1/12 and Burnley Town Centre Proposal BTC6/1. The Council prepared the ‘Sandygate Regeneration Area Planning Brief’ in March 2001 to assist prospective developers.

H1/7 – Sandygate Mill (0.39 ha.).

This site within the Weavers’ Triangle is considered suitable for a range of uses including residential, general industrial (B2), business (B1) and canal related leisure and tourism uses. A suitable mix of these uses may also be acceptable. See also General Policy Proposal GP4/4,  Economy and Work Proposal EW1/13 and Burnley Town Centre Proposal BTC6/2. The Council prepared the ‘Sandygate Regeneration Area Planning Brief’ in March 2001 to assist prospective developers.

 H1/8 – Clock Tower Mill (0.28ha.)

This site of the former Listed Building within the Weavers’ Triangle is considered suitable for a range of uses including general industrial (B2), business (B1), canal related leisure and tourism uses and residential. A suitable mix of these uses may also be acceptable. See also Economy and Work Proposal EW1/14, General Policy Proposal GP4/5, and Burnley Town Centre Proposal BTC6/3. The Council prepared the ‘Sandygate Regeneration Area Planning Brief’ in March 2001 to assist prospective developers.

H1/9 – Wiseman Street (0.38ha.)

This site within the Weavers’ Triangle is considered suitable for a range of uses including residential, general industrial (B2), business (B1) and canal related leisure and tourism uses. A suitable mix of these uses may also be acceptable. See also General Policy Proposal GP4/6, Economy and Work Proposal EW1/15 and Burnley Town Centre Proposal BTC6/4. The Council prepared the ‘Sandygate Regeneration Area Planning Brief’ in March 2001 to assist prospective  developers.

H1/10 – Lambert Howarth/Finsley Wharf (3.5ha.)

South of Burnley town centre this site is allocated for a mixed-use development incorporating business, canal related leisure and tourism uses, and housing. It represents a significant opportunity to regenerate a canalside site. The mill buildings on the site are prominent from a number of views within Burnley. A sensitively designed scheme making the most of the canalside setting, and listed buildings, has considerable potential to enhance employment, tourism and leisure in the Borough. A design statement will be expected to accompany all applications.

Development of the whole of the site is preferred but applications for parts of the site will be considered on their merits.

A Transport Assessment (TA) see Transport and Movement Policy  TM2 and a Leisure Impact Assessment (LIA), where appropriate, will be required with any application.

In 1994, the Council prepared a development brief for the Finsley Wharf site. This is still relevant in parts. This brief will be reviewed as part of the preparation of the Weaver’s Triangle Masterplan Supplementary Planning Document.

See also General Policy Proposal GP4/1, and Economy and Work Proposals EW1/11, and EW3/2.

Note: H1/6 to H1/10 are considered suitable for a mix of uses and at the present time have not been incorporated in the housing requirement calculation.



The Joint Lancashire Structure Plan identifies the number of new residential units to be built in each district of the County over the period 2001 – 2016. In providing for household change the annual build rates in Burnley should be 130 dwellings a year for the period 2001 – 2006 and 80 dwellings a year for the period 2006 – 2016. This equates to 1430 dwellings between 2001 – 2016.


In calculating the number of dwellings that need to be built over the remainder of the Structure Plan period, 2003 – 2016, the Local Plan takes account of the dwellings already built over the period 2001 to 2003 as against the 1430 required by the Structure Plan. Between 2001 and 2003 there have been 158 housing completions which leaves a net requirement for 2003 – 2016 of 1272 dwellings.


The Burnley Local Plan meets the requirement of 1272 dwellings in the following way:

Existing Greenfield Permissions118 
Existing Large Brownfield Permissions
Existing Local Plan Allocations
Additional Brownfield Contribution
Discount for non-renewal of Greenfield Permissions
- 36*

* Discount is made for non-renewal of planning permission 12/98/0390 – Land adjacent to Old Hall Farm, Oswald Street


As a local planning authority, the Council will annually monitor the uptake of previously-developed land and greenfield sites against the requirement set by the Deposit Edition Structure Plan and will be prepared to alter, or revise, the Burnley Local Plan’s Housing and Local Neighbourhood policies, in the light of that monitoring. This is in line with guidance included in PPG3: “Housing” which instructs local planning authorities to seek only to identify sufficient land to meet the housing requirement set as a result of the strategic planning process and the requirement that the level of housing provision should be kept under regular review.


The housing situation in Burnley will be monitored annually, with revisions to policies and proposals produced at a maximum of 5 yearly intervals.


The North West Regional Housing Statement, produced by the Government Office for the North West and the Housing Corporation North West and Merseyside, highlights the problem of local authorities granting permission for housing development far in excess of the requirement that their own forecasts suggest is necessary. Allowing excessive levels of development would only increase the trend of depopulation and decline in unpopular inner areas and contribute to the “doughnut effect” where people abandon inner areas, preferring to live in new private sector development on the edge of towns. To address this situation the Local Plan does not allocate land in excess of that which is already committed through planning permissions and the allowances suggested by Regional and National guidance.


In order to plan, monitor and manage housing land, the Council will look closely at any planning permissions that lapse. Where sites are greenfield, or no longer compatible with the principles of sustainable development, the Council will be unlikely to renew such planning permissions and will seek to allocate these sites for uses other than housing, or protect them as open land.

Target: H1a


The Council will ensure that brownfield land is redeveloped for housing before greenfield development takes place. Within the Urban Boundary the Council will permit development for housing on brownfield sites not allocated in Policy H1 when the following criteria can be met:

  1. the development would convert or reuse a building or bring back into use previously developed land;
  2. that release of the site or building for housing would not lead to an unacceptable oversupply of housing when assessed against Policy H1 of the Burnley Local Plan;
  3. the proposal is within easy reach of local facilities and services and is well served, or potentially well served by public transport; and
  4. the proposal satisfies the criteria set out in General Policy GP1: “Development within the Urban Boundary” and General Policy GP3: “Design and Quality” of the Burnley Local Plan.

Greenfield sites will only be released when completions, brownfield allocations (including any sites allocated in subsequent reviews of Policy H1 of the Burnley Local Plan) and brownfield windfalls cannot meet five year’s housing provision as identified in the Lancashire Structure Plan.

In addition, greenfield sites will only be released when they can meet criteria c) to d) above.

The Council will implement this policy at a sub-regional level, with other district and unitary authorities in East Lancashire to ensure that the release of greenfield land does not undermine urban renaissance within the sub-region. 



The Burnley Local Plan identifies housing land for the period 2003 to 2016. A proportion of the housing land supply between 2003 and 2016 will be unidentified windfall sites. This policy will seek to ensure that this new land for housing is developed sequentially, with brownfield land developed before greenfield land. This sequential approach is in accordance with guidance in PPG3: “Housing” and Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West Policy UR8 – ‘A Phasing Mechanism for Release of Housing Land’.


The Council supports the Regional Housing Statement and the view that over-providing land for housing and allowing the early release of greenfield land only serves to reinforce the trend of depopulation in unpopular urban areas. This encourages people to leave such areas -leapfrogging to greenfield sites on the edge of town - the “doughnut effect” - thereby accelerating these areas’ decline. The Council believes limiting greenfield development is one half of a two pronged attack to improve and regenerate the older, inner urban areas of the town – the other half being the improvement of the inner urban areas.


The early release of greenfield land is also a concern at the sub-regional level, and RSS Policy UR8 seeks to ensure that policies at a subregional level are consistent. To achieve this, the Council will work at a sub-regional level, with district and unitary Councils and the East Lancashire Partnership, to ensure that the release of greenfield land does not undermine urban renaissance within other districts.


Policy 12 of the Joint Lancashire Structure Plan states that a district will move to a situation of undersupply, requiring the granting of further planning permissions, when the expected annual number of completions that is estimated will arise from existing planning permissions is below the annual requirement set out in Policy 12. To allow the Council to gain a robust understanding of the stock of permissions needed to bring forward one year’s annual requirement the Council will monitor past and current completions to calculate the average time it takes for a planning approval to be implemented. This figure will then be used to calculate the number of permissions  needed to ensure that one year’s requirement is brought forward. Therefore in assessing criterion (b) the Council will consider that a proposal represents an unacceptable oversupply if it  would lead to a supply in excess of the number needed to bring forward one year’s requirement. Exceptions to this quantitative ssessment may be justified where a proposal makes a contribution  to the supply of affordable or special needs housing, forms a key element within a mixed use regeneration project or safeguards the future of a Listed Building.

Targets: H1a, H4a, and H5a


The Council will ensure quality design in all new housing development by permitting proposals which meet the following:

  1. Is suitable in terms of overall design, including layout, materials, size, scale and siting when compared with both neighbouring properties and the wider locality;
  2. the site layout responds imaginatively to the landscape and creates a sense of place;
  3. the development provides a range of house types and designs to promote mixed communities and contribute to an attractive and varied environment;
  4. the amenity of neighbouring properties is protected and the development minimises overlooking, and provides a reasonable degree of privacy and outlook;
  5. the development provides adequate private garden space and landscaping ;
  6. pedestrian access is safe and convenient, incorporating traffic calming measures and the designation of Home Zones with reduced speed limits; and
  7. the provision of parking in accordance with Council standards.


Securing good design is central to good planning. PPG3: Housing encourages local planning authorities to promote good design in new housing development and reject poor design. This guidance and the “By Design” best practice guide have placed greater onus on local authorities and developers to think more imaginatively about design and layout to improve the quality and attractiveness of residential areas.


When formulating proposals for new housing development it is important to remember that any proposal will not be considered in isolation. Considerations of design and layout will be informed by the wider context, having regard not just to any immediate neighbouring buildings, but the townscape and landscape of the wider locality. Proposals should be sympathetic to the local character and identity of the town, reflecting the local pattern of streets and spaces, building traditions, materials, landscape and ecology.


To ensure that proposals do not adversely affect privacy (freedom from being overlooked) and outlook (quality of openness and space) the Council will work to the following minimum standards:

  • the minimum acceptable distance between the windows of habitable rooms facing each other is 20 metres; and
  • two storey blank gable walls will not be permitted closer than 15 metres from the main outlook of an existing window.

These standards will only be relaxed if there is a justifiable reason for doing so, or if a developer can show that the objectives of these standards can be met by way of high quality design. For example, to promote the re-use and conversion of buildings and facilitate mixed use development the Council may need to apply the standards flexibly so as not to unnecessarily constrain development.


In this context, a habitable room is a room which is used for a dwelling purpose, but not a scullery, bathroom, toilet or landing. 


The Core Development Principles of RSS for the North West (Policy DP3) promotes Quality in New Development and highlights that creativity and innovation in design are also to make better use of land and support sustainable development patterns.


Ensuring quality also has a role to play in serving urban regeneration and renaissance. The Lancashire Economic Partnership have recognised this. Their pathfinder strategy “East Lancashire’s Future – Achieving our Vision” seeks to ensure that in the future East Lancashire is chosen as a place to live because of a strong commitment to high standards of housing.


All proposals will be assessed with regard to Burnley Local Plan policies General Policies GP3: “Design and Quality” and GP8: “Energy Conservation and Efficiency”.

Targets: H2a, H2b, and H7b


On new housing development of at least 0.4 ha., or 10 units, the Council will create balanced communities by providing a mix of housing types, sizes and tenures.

All residential proposals will be expected to provide the following appropriate to the size, type and location of the site:

  1. a mix of housing types;
  2. a range of housing sizes; and
  3. the provision of different housing tenures.

The Council will actively promote the provision of Lifetime Homes which provide a home for life, without the need for substantial alterations or adaptation.



The Burnley Local Plan Strategy, in line with Government policy, is to provide everyone with the opportunity of a decent home. This will provide wider housing opportunity and housing choice. Providing a degree of housing choice involves ensuring that dwellings of different types, size, tenure and location are available.


Gone are the days when different housing types and tenures were considered to make bad neighbours. Instead, the Council will now encourage the development of mixed and balanced communities which bring to an end social distinctions, ensuring that new housing developments help to secure a better social mix by avoiding the development of large areas of housing of similar characteristics.


Ensuring that diversity exists in all new housing developments is a key principle of the Government’s Housing Policy . The development of large estates which cater for one type of housing are now considered to be undesirable and unsustainable. A better mix of housing will allow communities to grow and prosper, enabling people to meet their aspirations, including homeownership, in areas where they have grown up, as well as attracting new people to join them.


The Government’s housing policy also recommends that the Council provide a mix of housing types to ensure a sustainable future for existing housing estates. When assessing proposals for residential development, consideration will be given to the type of housing provided in the surrounding area and the Council will encourage schemes that offer an improved choice of housing types and sizes and avoid simply replicating what is already provided.


In the context of this policy, type of housing refers to a mix of detached, semi-detached, terraces, bungalows, town houses and flats and size refers to the number of bedrooms provided.


Mixed and balanced communities will be delivered through negotiation with developers and, where necessary, will be ensured by the use of either unilateral undertakings by developers, planning conditions or Section 106 agreements.


There are two elements to the provision of mixed and balanced communities. The first is the form of the housing which is dealt with in this policy. Secondly, it is important to consider the function of the housing to be provided. To ensure that a proportion of new housing provided functions as affordable and special needs housing all suitable proposals will also be assessed with regard to Burnley Local Plan Policy H5: ‘Local Housing Needs’.

Target: H1d


Affordable and Special Needs Housing will be sought where:

  1. the proposed development is for 25 dwellings or more, or of 1 hectare or more in site area; or
  2. the site is in a rural settlement of 3000 or fewer population where the development is for more than 15 dwellings or of 0.5 or more hectares in site area.

These developments will be expected to make provision for affordable and special needs housing by providing either:

  1. at least 10% of dwellings for rent, part rent/buy, or some form of subsidised purchase; Or:
  2. at least 10% of dwellings for those with special needs, including the elderly.

In the case of 2) above the Council will negotiate with the developer to ensure that a proportion of the special needs housing is also affordable. The definition of special needs housing includes Lifetime Homes, which provide a home for life without the need for substantial alterations or adaptation.

The need to be addressed will be assessed in conjunction with the applicant on a site by site basis, taking account of the following:

  1. the type and character of housing in the local area
  2. proximity to local services; and
  3. the latest housing needs assessment information.


Policy H1: Land for New Housing Development identifies the amount of land allocated in the Burnley Local Plan over the period 2003 - 2016. It cannot however guarantee that this land will be used for housing that meets the needs of certain sections of the community.


PPG3: Housing, asks local authorities to plan to meet the housing requirements of the whole community, including those in need of affordable and special needs housing. The aim of this policy is to ensure that housing is provided to meet local housing needs in Burnley.


To help identify this need, the Council commissioned a Housing Needs and Market Assessment. This identified that, in 2004, 5200 households (12.9% of households in the borough) were in Housing Need.


The Council has used the data from the survey as the basis for this policy.


Affordable Housing

The North West Regional Housing Need and Demand Research suggests that the predominance of low house prices in the North West belies the need for affordable housing in many parts of the region, and this is definitely the case in Burnley.


Although house prices within the Borough are relatively low, factors such as low income (average gross weekly earnings are only 90% of the regional average and 85% of the national average), part-time work, insecure jobs mean that a number of households cannot afford to buy housing on the open market, or are restricted to living in certain areas and to buying older, sometimes lower quality housing. In many instances, families are limited to accommodation too small or inappropriate for their need. For example, over 50% of the Borough’s housing was built before 1919 and consists of mainly two-up, two-down terraced housing. Unfortunately, in many cases this type of housing is unsuitable for the needs of 21st Century living.


It is often argued that there is no need to provide affordable housing in Burnley because there is already plenty of cheap housing available to buy or rent (cheap because of poor stock condition, poor area, and other symptoms associated with low demand issues). However, cheap housing does not always equate to decent affordable housing. Indeed low incomes mean that many people can still not afford mortgages. In the case of the cheapest housing, banks and building societies will not lend on these properties. Therefore, provision of new, quality dwellings at affordable prices or rents within a residential environment where people choose to live is still needed.


To address the need for affordable housing across the North West, RSS Policy UR9 – Affordable Housing – estimates that 30% of all new homes between 1996 and 2021 may need to be affordable. The inclusion of affordable housing policies in Local Plans is seen as key to achieving this.


Government Guidance on Affordable Housing policies is contained in PPG3: ‘Housing’ and Circular 6/98: ‘Planning and Affordable Housing’. To justify the inclusion of an affordable housing policy the Local Plan should:

  • indicate how many affordable homes are needed in the area – Low wage levels within the borough mean that there is a need to provide dwellings for those who cannot afford market solutions to their housing problems.

To meet this need, the Housing Needs and Market Assessment suggests requirement of around 575 affordable dwellings across the Borough over the next 5 years.

Many of the households requiring this type of accommodation are likely to move into social rented stock but is important to consider any mechanism which can diversify the tenure base, for instance through shared ownership;

The need for affordable housing is not uniformly distributed across the Borough. The latest housing needs information will be used to identify affordable housing requirements on specific sites;

  • set targets for suitable sites – In terms of sites suitable for affordable housing, the Council will seek the provision of affordable housing on housing developments of 25 or more dwellings or residential sites of 1 hectare or more. This size threshold is chosen to ensure that affordable housing is only required on sites which are large enough to accommodate a reasonable mix of types and sizes of housing. In  rural settlements of 3000 or fewer population affordable housing will  be sought on developments of 15 or more dwellings or sites of 0.5 or more hectares. On these sites the Council will expect the provision of at least 10% of new dwellings for either affordable or special needs housing;
  • define what they consider to be “affordable” – the definition of affordable housing used in the Housing Needs and Market Assessment is housing that is provided for local people who are unable to resolve their housing needs in the private sector because of the relationship between housing costs and incomes; and
  • indicate the different types of affordable housing needed byhouseholds of different characteristics – within the borough, the majority of the need is for rented housing. While most of this can be met within existing resources the Council would still wish to pursue new social rented housing within the context of appropriate Registered Social Landlords, particularly given the need for special needs supported housing in the Borough. However, there is scope for other forms of affordable housing such as shared ownership, low cost home ownership.

The primary objective of affordable housing policies is to ensure that there is enough land to meet the agreed need in terms of numbers. However, Circular 6/98 and the Housing Green Paper also instructs local authorities to ensure the development of mixed and balanced communities – whether through new build or conversions – to cater for a range of housing needs and avoid the residualisation of social housing and its occupants. Residential schemes should therefore cater for a mix of households and incomes and not reinforce high concentrations of social rented housing or, conversely, large detached homes on greenfield sites outside of existing communities.


Once affordable housing has been built it will be necessary to ensure that it is made available to those in genuine housing need and that a significant proportion remain affordable in the future. To achieve these objectives, the Council will need to put in place appropriate nomination mechanisms. These could include the involvement of a registered social landlord or housing association, or the attachment of planning conditions or planning obligations.


Special needs housing

Aim 1 of the North West Regional Housing Statement is to match the supply of housing with the changing patterns of demand and aspiration. Meeting demand for the specific housing needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups and individuals is an important component of this aim.


During the Plan period, it is expected that there will be a continued need to provide housing for those with special needs, such as the elderly, and the disabled. Many of those requiring specialist accommodation are the most vulnerable members of society and may well have reduced mobility; it is therefore essential that access to shops, post offices, etc. and public transport is easy and within a short distance of the development. Proposals should also offer a pleasant living environment providing satisfactory amenities in terms of outdoor garden space.


The aim of this policy is not to identify a district level provision of special needs housing. Instead, this policy aims to highlight that the need for such housing will continue to exist and that the Council will negotiate the provision of appropriate housing, such as lifetime homes, which attempts to satisfy this need.

Targets: H1b, and H1c


The Council will make the most efficient use of land by maximising the net site density of development as follows.

Allocated sites and planning approvals

On the allocated sites the Council will expect development to conform with the densities outlined below:








St. Margarets, Hapton





Land off Lowerhouse Lane





Land at Culshaw Street





Clevelands Road












Land off Manchester Road, Burnley





Cotton Street/Pickles Street





Hapton Boat Yard, Simpson Street













Lowerhouse Lane




NB: The densities included for allocated sites with planning permission are those approved with the planning application.

The densities included for existing housing allocations are the minimum the Council would expect on these sites.

Windfall sites

On unallocated sites the following densities will be required:

30-50 dwellings/ha. and, in places with good public transport accessibility (such as town, district and local centres and around major nodes along good quality public transport corridors), higher.

Exceptions to the above density standards:

  1. Inner areas – exceptions may be made for sites included within regeneration proposals. In such cases each site will be assessed on its merits, and the merits of the regeneration proposal.
  2. Site Capacity – each windfall site is different, as such, some sites may have physical or environmental constraints that make the above standards difficult to achieve. In such cases exceptions to the above standards may be made.
  3. Housing Need – During the plan period, some housing sites may be developed to meet a specific housing need, for example affordable larger housing for large families. In such cases exceptions to the above standards may be considered to allow housing to be developed which meets a specific need.


PPG 3: “Housing” and RSS advise local planning authorities to include density policies in local plans. These policies should encourage the provision of higher density housing developments, in order to avoid the inefficient use of land and to preserve the viability of local services and facilities. However, the potential for higher density housing must not compromise people’s living environment and the Local Plan therefore avoids adopting a broad brush approach to housing density. Sites will be considered on their merits, and in relation to the surrounding area. For example, in inner areas where densities have traditionally been high, the Council will not simply replace housing on a one-for-one basis, but take a more informed view which seeks to provide a better livingenvironment through improved layout of housing and roads and the provision of local services and facilities.


The need to make the best use of land does not mean that the Council will compromise on the quality of proposals and applicants will be expected to demonstrate that they have thought imaginatively about designs and layouts which make efficient use of land, without compromising the quality of the environment.


On allocated sites the Council has taken into account the specific characteristics of each site and set the housing density accordingly. The Council will encourage high density development where local circumstances allow, and avoid such development where the character and identity of the surrounding area would be adversely affected, or where it would affect people’s quality of life through the lack of open space/play space.


A number of allocated sites which already have planning permission include densities which are lower than recent government guidance suggests. Should these Planning Permissions lapse, then the Council will follow the approach outlined in paragraph 40 of PPG3: “Housing” and seek to increase the density, where appropriate, if planning applications are received to renew the permissions.


On windfall sites there is a need to prescribe a range of densities that are both achievable and make the best use of land. To achieve this the Council has outlined a set of principles and accompanying minimum density standards.


Density Principles –

  • Sites well served by public transport – sites which are well served by public transport provide the opportunity to reduce the need to travel by private car and open up a range of services and facilities to residents. The density expected on these sites reflects this, and is higher to allow as many people as possible to benefit from good transport links.
  • Inner area clearance sites – where clearance takes place the Council will assess the appropriateness, or otherwise, of replacing cleared units at former densities. For example, the Council encourages the provision of balanced communities with a range of housing types and sizes which means that it may not be appropriate to replace cleared terraced housing at former densities. Densities may have to be reduced.
  • Sites within town and district centres – sites within town and district centres provide the opportunity to live in close proximity to a range of services and facilities and reduce the need to travel by car. Higher densities will be expected to take advantage of such locations. Within town and districts centres the Council expects a number of proposals to involve the re-use of existing buildings for flats and apartments. These proposals will allow a high density to be achieved.

When applicants come forward with unallocated sites they will be expected to take account of the standards in this policy, unless they can demonstrate that specific site characteristics dictate otherwise. In such cases, the Council will work closely with developers to achieve the best possible density for the site.

Target: H1a


The Council will require all new housing development to provide, or contribute to, Public Open Space provision.

  1. Proposals for new housing development of 50 houses or more will be expected to incorporate recreational public open space to a minimum standard of 0.3 Ha (0.74 acres) per 50 dwellings or a proportion thereof, in accordance with the National Playing Fields Association Standard of 2.4 hectares (6 acres) per 1000 population.
  2. Proposals for new housing developments of between 10 and 49 dwellings inclusively, will be expected to provide Public Open Space in line with the above standard. Where such a Public Open Space is impracticable or unusable the Council will negotiate with the developer the payment of a commuted sum, for the benefit of existing Public Open Space nearby, in lieu of the provision normally required by this policy.
  3. Proposals for new housing development of less than 10 dwellings will be expected to provide the payment of a commuted sum, for the benefit of existing Public Open Space nearby, in lieu of the provision normally required by this policy.
  4. As part of the overall recreational space requirement referred to in 1. above, developers of housing sites comprising predominantly family housing, will be required to provide 0.09 Ha (0.23 acres) of equipped children’s play space per 50 dwellings, or proportion thereof.

Where Public Open Space is provided in new housing development it must normally be a single plot that is landscaped to a high standard of design. The space must be usable, and easily accessible by all residents, including those with disabilities, and provide a safe place to play and relax, whilst not causing a nuisance to nearby residents.



The Burnley Local Plan aims to produce quality residential environments. A key element of this is the provision of usable public open space. There is a need to provide extra open space to alleviate the strain on existing facilities and to improve the provision in areas where facilities are currently lacking.


Although the Council aims to ensure that new housing development takes place within the Urban Boundary this is not meant to increase the pressure to develop urban greenspace. On the contrary, the Council aims to follow RSS Policy UR10 – Greenery, Urban Greenspace and the Public Realm, and make the Borough a more attractive place to live through the provision and protection of attractive, safe, well planned and maintained public spaces.


Usable Public Open Space will be required on all but the smallest housing sites, except where it is impracticable or the resulting open space would be unusable. In calculating the amount of playing fields, amenity, informal recreation and children’s play space to be provided by developers the Council will use the National Playing Fields Association’s (NPFA) Six Acre Standard.

The NPFA standard = 2.4 hectares of recreational space per 1000 people
Average Household size in the Borough = 2.5 (1991 Census)
1000 people is equivalent to 400 households
400 households should have 2.4 hectares of recreational open space
50 dwellings should have 0.3 hectares of recreational open space

Developers will be expected to provide children’s play space as part of the overall 0.3 hectare standard. This could take the form of a junior football pitch, formal playground or a kickabout area. To allow easy and safe access for children the NPFA recommends that 200 metres is the maximum distance that young children should have to travel from home to a play area. To allow safe access, young children should not have to cross a major road to access the play area.


A balance will need to be reached between the need to make sites visible, safe and accessible and the need to reduce the likelihood of general noise and disturbance.


Where there is already adequate provision of playing fields and parks in a particular area, in respect of both quantity and quality, the two acre standard (outdoor equipped playgrounds and informal play space) will apply. The NPFA state that this should be provided as a minimum. 


For the Public Open Space to be of a usable size and easy to maintain, the minimum area should be 1000 square metres. Having applied the NPFA standard, the Council will have to assess whether the required Open Space would be of a usable and beneficial size. If this is not the case, it would be normal for the Council to negotiate with the developer to pay a commuted sum in lieu of this provision.


Smaller sites are generally the most difficult to maintain. These areas are usually the spaces left over after house plots have been defined, in awkward places, on poor ground, and are unsuitable for use as Public Open Space.


Where developers would like to increase the number of dwellings in a development at a later stage, the amount of Public Open Space, or commuted sum, required will be increased accordingly. Furthermore, applications that are part of a larger development will be required to provide Public Open Space based on that required for the larger development.


The commuted sum in lieu of Public Open Space provision is to cover provision and maintenance of Public Open Space elsewhere and help towards improvements identified in the Council’s Playing Pitch Strategy. The level of commuted sum will be reviewed annually by the Council’s Greenspace and Amenities Unit.


The commuted sum payment in lieu of provision will be used towards upgrading Public Open Space in that residential area or adjoining residential areas within two years of the completion of the development, unless some other agreement is made between the Council and the developer.


The Public Open Space that is provided should be within easy reach of all residents of the development, use good existing features in its design, provide a safe place to play and relax, and be designed to minimise disturbance to residents.


In order to ensure that the proposed public open space meets the standards set by Greenspace and Amenities it is advisable for the developer to contact the Greenspace and Amenities Services Unit at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss the matter. Details required include location of the open space within the development, aspects of the play equipment, location of planting, type of hard surfaces and furniture, boundary treatment, species, size and number of plants, phasing of development and maintenance arrangements. These details will need to be agreed before any approval of planning permission. In the case of an outline application, the location of the open space should be made clear on the indicative plan that accompanies the application.


Financial arrangements for provision and maintenance

With regard to payments in lieu of provision of Public Open Space, commuted sums paid by developers will be arranged through Section 106 Agreements. Such agreements will be finalised before any planning approval is given.


If Public Open Space is to be provided by the developer, Greenspace and Amenities will require it to be implemented to a certain standard if they are to adopt and maintain the space. The cost of adopting and maintaining public open space will be reviewed annually by Greenspace and Amenities.

Target: H4b


Within residential areas, the Council will promote environmental improvements by permitting the following:

  1. the provision of open space and recreational facilities;
  2. traffic calming measures and the designation of Home Zones;
  3. the removal of incompatible uses and the control of development inappropriate to a residential area;
  4. schemes for landscaping and the conservation and enhancement of existing land or features of ecological interest;
  5. the treatment of untidy and vacant land;
  6. selective clearance when necessary, and when suitable after uses have been identified; and
  7. measures to reduce the impact of business and commercial properties on residential amenity.


The Burnley Local Plan, as well as dealing with the provision of land for new housing and the improvement and regeneration of deprived urban areas, must seek to protect and improve existing residential areas. Currently, many areas are popular and provide a reasonably good quality of life. To ensure that this continues in the future we will promote environmental improvement schemes, and limit inappropriate development so that these areas remain popular in the future.

Target: H7a


The following areas and neighbourhoods, identified on the Proposals Map, will be the focus for comprehensive area based action and regeneration programmes.

  • H9/1 – South West Burnley
  • H9/2 – Burnley Wood
  • H9/3 – Daneshouse
  • H9/4 – Stoneyholme

In these areas, proposals which will contribute to the following measures will be approved:

  1. repair, improvement and conversion of existing property;
  2. new housing and employment development where it does not have a detrimental effect on residential amenity;
  3. high quality open spaces;
  4. clearance where suitable after-use is identified and a fully resourced Action Plan is in place, see also Environment Policy E33 – “Vacant and Untidy :Land”;
  5. re-design and remodelling of local areas and neighbourhoods;
  6. environmental improvements, such as landscaping and the treatment of untidy land;
  7. better access to services and facilities;
  8. crime reduction and community safety measures;
  9. traffic calming;
  10. increased job opportunities and improved transport links; and
  11. schemes for landscaping and the conservation and enhancement of existing land or features of ecological, historical or archaeological value.


Within Burnley, there are a number of urban areas and neighbourhoods where environmental problems and social deprivation are particularly concentrated. These areas are characterised by:

  • unpopular and unfit housing;
  • low educational attainment;
  • unemployment, low skills and low wages;
  • poor environment;
  • poverty;
  • poor health;
  • drug abuse; and
  • crime and anti-social behaviour.

All these issues cannot be resolved simply by improving housing conditions. Poor housing is one among a number of physical, social and economic problems found in these areas.


The need for a comprehensive approach to regeneration and renewal has been recognised to improve the quality of life in these areas. All of the areas addressed by Policy H9 are the subject of various bidding programmes such as the East Lancashire Housing Market Restructuring Pathfinder, the Urban Regeneration Forum’s SRB6 programme in Burnley Wood and Accrington Road, the Sure Start schemes in Daneshouse, South West Burnley and Burnley Wood and the Capital Challenge programmes in Daneshouse and Stoneyholme.


However, the Burnley Local Plan is a land use plan and, as a result, cannot deal directly with all these problems or implement all the strategies and projects that the programmes involve. It can, though, provide a land use planning framework for area based action and programmes, which identifies these areas as the focus for regeneration, clearance and improvement. Thereby supporting our strategy to achieve urban renaissance and social progress which meets the needs of everyone. This will be done on a broad basis involving communities and tackling not just physical, but social and economic problems. Where clearance is proposed, a Character Appraisal will be produced in consultation with English Heritage.


The detailed policies and proposals needed to ensure the implementation of this policy will be included within a series of Area Action Plans, which the Council intends to formally adopt as development plan documents.


Through the successful regeneration of these areas and neighbourhoods the Council aims to increase their popularity and reverse the recent trend of depopulation. This will be extremely important as the Council attempts to minimise greenfield development, ensure the most efficient use of land and aim to meet our brownfield target.


Policy H9 of the Burnley Local Plan will help to implement the following:

  • RSS for the North West Policy UR6 – Existing Housing Stock and Housing Renewal;
  • The strategic objectives of the North West Regional Housing Statement ;
  • The recommendations of the Report of the Unpopular Housing Action Team;
  • The principles of the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal;
  • The goals and targets of the East Lancashire Partnership;
  • The Regional Economic Strategy – England’s North West: A Strategy Towards 2020; and
  • The creation of a local strategic partnership and the delivery of Neighbourhood Renewal Fund resources.

Target: H3a, H6a, H6b, H6d, and H6e


Proposals for the conversion or amalgamation of existing dwellings to provide for the housing needs of large families will be permitted when the proposal has no adverse impact on:

  1. the residential amenity of neighbouring properties
  2. the character of the area and the street scene; and
  3. the amenity of the occupants of the proposed property.


The Asian heritage population of the Borough is largely concentrated within Daneshouse and Stoneyholme where the housing is characterised by two-up, two-down pre-1919 terraces. However, this type of housing is often unsuitable for large and extended families, with the result that there can be problems of overcrowding. Larger families, whilst being more prevalent in the Asian heritage community, are also found in the Borough’s other communities and when seeking to provide suitable accommodation for such families this policy will be applied.


In recent years, Bradford and Northern Housing Association (Accent) has been involved in a targeted disposal policy which has allowed residents to purchase neighbouring properties which are empty and unwanted and convert the two properties into one. The benefits of this policy are two-fold as they bring new life back into streets which are suffering due to abandonment and vacancy; and it helps to tackle the problems of overcrowding.


If the Council are to continue to address the problems faced by larger households and extended families the Council will have to plan to deal with these circumstances – by promoting further conversions and amalgamations.


The Council recognises the importance and increasing trend to mix housing, employment and training uses. These will be supported when:

  1. there is no adverse effect on neighbouring properties;
  2. the proposal provides an acceptable residential amenity for its occupants;
  3. the proposal is in keeping with its surroundings, in terms of design, appearance, scale and siting;
  4. the proposal is within easy reach of local facilities and services; and
  5. access for vehicles and pedestrians is safe and convenient, and parking is provided in accordance with adopted standards, see Transport and Movement Policy TM15: - “Car Parking Standards”.


The Council is keen to encourage the development of initiatives which seek to combine the provision of housing with training and workshop facilities. Such initiatives may include residential developments which include the provision of workshops and training facilities.


Initiatives such as these allow for the provision of housing for those in need and provide additional facilities to meet the educational and employment needs of people within the Borough. In particular, proposals can cater for the needs of the Asian heritage population whose traditions may dictate that they need to work close to home.


Proposals for non – residential development within primarily residential areas will be assessed against the following:

  1. the proposal is sensitive to, and in keeping with the character of the residential area, in terms of design and scale and materials;
  2. there would be no adverse affect on residential amenity as a result of the proposed activity;
  3. there would be no adverse effect due to the vehicular or pedestrian traffic that the proposal generates, particularly through noise, general disturbance, and loss of privacy;
  4. the proposal does not lead to an intensification of nonresidential uses detrimental to residential amenity and character;
  5. adequate vehicular access, on-site parking and servicing space can be provided in accord with the Council’s car parking standards, see Transport and Movement Policy TM16 – “Car Parking Standards”; and
  6. in relation to existing buildings, the proposal will result in an overall improvement to the environment and amenity of the surrounding area.


Most of the Borough’s housing stock, including much of the older housing, is well maintained, and in a relatively attractive environment. To maintain the standard of these housing areas the Council will protect housing areas from non-residential uses if residential amenity is affected.


Proposals will also be assessed with regard to Burnley Local Plan Policy EW9: - “Small Businesses, Working From Home And Community Enterprises In Residential Areas”.


Proposals to extend and convert existing residential properties will be permitted where:

  1. the proposal is in keeping with the existing house and the surrounding buildings with regard to scale, size, design and materials;
  2. the proposal will not adversely affect -
    1. the residential amenity of neighbouring properties through overlooking, lack of privacy or reduction of outlook or daylight
    2. the visual amenity and character of the locality
  3. the proposal provides an adequate residential amenity for its occupants;
  4. the proposal does not lead to an unacceptable loss of private open space or parking space; and
  5. the proposal does not threaten highway safety through the obstruction of visibility for pedestrians and road users.


The Council will encourage investment in the housing stock through the extension and conversion of existing dwellings. However, such extensions can have a significant impact on the existing house and its neighbouring properties, and care should be taken to minimise this. Consideration will also be given to the residential amenity of residents, the effect of the proposal on the provision of private open space and parking and the possible threat to highway safety through the obstruction of visibility for pedestrians and road users.


The provision of a self - contained extension to an existing house can provide the ideal solution to caring for elderly or disabled relatives, and the Council will be sympathetic to applications provided that a genuine need can be established by the applicant.


To ensure that the extension does not become a completely independent dwelling unit in future years the extension will normally be limited to a one bedroomed unit and there will be a requirement for an internal link within the existing house, and for a shared pedestrian and vehicular access. 


The Council will not permit proposals which will result in the loss of private gardens and backland for infill development unless such proposals can be shown not to adversely affect the character and amenity of the area.



Concentrating development within the urban boundary will create increased development pressures. Such pressures can be expressed through the increased development of areas of land such as large gardens and grounds, and landlocked backland sites which are often the subject of infill development or redevelopment. This may lead to unacceptably high densities which over time may significantly alter the character of an area and damage the amenity enjoyed by its residents. The Council will, therefore, ensure that any proposals for infill development on backland and/or gardens are carefully assessed against the above criteria.


Proposals for the conversion and re-use of buildings for the creation of flats and bedsits, which require planning permission, will be permitted where:

  1. the proposal would not adversely affect the amenity of the residents of neighbouring properties;
  2. the proposal is sympathetic to the character and appearance of the building and its locality;
  3. the proposal provides a satisfactory residential environment for its occupants and for their immediate neighbours;
  4. the proposal provides adequate facilities for refuse disposal; and
  5. there would be safe and convenient access for vehicles and pedestrians, and the provision of appropriate car-parking for the needs of the people living there, see Transport and Movement Policy TM15 – “Car Parking Standards”.

To promote such conversions in the Town Centres of Burnley and Padiham the Council will take a flexible approach to the standards included in the Burnley Local Plan with regard to densities, car parking, amenity space and overlooking.



The demand for flats and bedsits in Burnley is relatively low due to the number of small houses already available and the generally low level of house prices compared to other parts of the country. Nevertheless, they can make a useful contribution to the choice of accommodation available and applications to convert larger properties may be approved by the Council provided that the proposals would not detract from their surroundings or adversely affect neighbouring dwellings. 


The Council expects that major markets for these proposals will be student accommodation and housing for individuals within “Care in the Community” programmes. 


As well as widening the choice of accommodation available, the re-use and conversion of buildings into flats provides the opportunity to combine high-density development with the re-use of empty or under-used buildings. Both of which are key themes within PPG3: “Housing” and RSS – Policies DP3 “Quality in New Development” and UR4 “Setting Targets for the Recycling of Land and Buildings”.


Where there is an identified need for gypsy and travellers’ sites, proposals will be permitted when:

  1. the proposed site is suitable for the proposed use and can provide an acceptable living environment;
  2. the proposed site is close to shops, schools and other community facilities; and
  3. the site is well designed and landscaped to give privacy between pitches and between the site and neighbouring properties;
  4. the site does not cause demonstrable harm to the quality and character of the landscape or adversely affect the residential amenity of neighbouring properties;
  5. the proposal does not prejudice the long-term planning of the area; and
  6. the proposal is not detrimental to highway safety and satisfactory provision is made for parking.

The development of new gypsy sites will not be permitted in the following locations:

  1. within Green Belts;
  2. on the best and most versatile agricultural land;
  3. in other areas where it is likely to have an adverse impact on the distinctive characteristics of the landscape; and
  4. where it is likely to have an adverse impact on an SSSI, or other ecologically sensitive area.


Circular 01/06 – “Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Caravan Sites” – sets out Council’s requirement to make adequate provision for gypsy sites in their development plans. This policy of the Burnley Local Plan outlines the principal criteria to be used in determining planning applications for such sites. When considering such applications it is important to consider the suitability of the site and the provision of adequate facilities and basic services. There is a need to protect the character of the countryside and ensure that the long-term planning of the area is not affected. Sites should also be located close to local services and facilities.

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