7. Environment



In many ways, Burnley has a good quality environment - a compact urban area with many fine buildings surrounded by hills and open countryside. In other ways it does not - having older areas of terraced housing characterised by densely developed unfit housing, little open space, on-street parking, litter, crime, vandalism and poor access to facilities. The Burnley Local Plan must address these issues and seek to produce a quality environment for all the Borough’s residents.


The environment is a wide ranging issue covering everything from ecology, open land, listed buildings and conservation areas through to vacant and untidy land, pollution, and contamination. This chapter has therefore been divided into four sub-sections to help the reader find the relevant policies and proposals.


The Natural Environment

Within the Borough there are a number of internationally, nationally and locally important sites for nature conservation which will be protected. As well as these designated sites there is a need to protect other important ecological and wildlife features that are important to the Borough’s environment, such as woodland and hedgerows, the rivers and canal.


The Built Environment

Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas, Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Historic Parks and Gardens are important features of the Borough’s heritage and today’s built environment. New development must be sensitive and responsive to these surroundings to ensure a high standard of townscape and urban design.


Open Land

80% of the Borough is Open Land. The land designated as Green Belt is protected by the guidance in Planning Policy Guidance Note 2: “Green Belts”, which will only permit inappropriate development in very special circumstances. In other Rural Areas the Local Plan will balance the need to protect the Borough’s landscape character and local distinctiveness, with farm diversification and the development of renewable energy resources.


Environmental Protection

The Borough’s Industrial heritage has left behind a legacy of derelict and contaminated land and derelict buildings.


Over the years a number of these sites have been successfully reclaimed and reused, and the Council will continue to support such schemes in order to make the most efficient use of land, reduce environmental pollution and support urban renaissance.


Within the Borough there are a number of vacant and untidy plots of land. The Council will work with local communities and groups to bring these sites back into use and improve local environments.



In line with the Core Development Principles of Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West the Local Plan will protect and enhance the best of the Borough’s natural and man made environment, e.g. listed buildings, conservation areas and moorland landscape. These features define the area’s character and identity.


The Local Plan will seek to protect and encourage improvements to all urban and rural open spaces. Urban open spaces provide important outlets for recreation and break up the built environment making Burnley a greener, pleasanter place. Such areas will be protected, enhanced, and where possible new spaces will be created as part of new housing development, in town centres, and in the more densely developed areas of terraced housing identified for regeneration.


Rural open spaces will be protected to safeguard agricultural land, landscape, wildlife, and their value as recreation areas. Preventing inappropriate development in such areas will maintain a compact urban area and help to concentrate regeneration activity. The Local Plan will maintain Green Belt boundaries and will continue to protect other rural and countryside areas.


The Local Plan will protect features of ecological value such as Biological Heritage Sites, wildlife links and corridors. The Plan will include policies to prevent pollution of air, water, and soil.



The environment policies of the Local Plan have been developed to achieve a number of objectives set out in Key Aim 4 of the Action Strategy. These objectives are defined below. Each of these is accompanied by targets designed to measure progress towards achievement of the 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 E1 – To protect and improve the built environment

  • Target E1a – All Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas protected from inappropriate development.
  • Target E1d – To contribute towards the Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West target to reduce by 5% per year the number of Listed Buildings on the English Heritage Building at Risk Register
  • Target E1e – All Listed Buildings protected from demolition unless in exceptional circumstances.
  • Target E1f – All Scheduled Ancient Monuments protected from inappropriate development.
  • Target E1g – All locally important buildings, artefacts and features protected from unnecessary damage or removal.
  • Target E1h – All Historic Parks and Gardens protected from inappropriate development.
  • Target E1i – Annual reported incidences of untidy land reduced from 2004 baseline.
  • Target E1j – 10ha of untidy and vacant land reclaimed and reused by 2011.
  • Target E1k – Public Art secured in all projects over 750m2.

OBJECTIVE E2 – To protect and enhance the natural environment

  • Target E2a – All sites of nature conservation and ecological value protected from inappropriate development.
  • Target E2b – 36ha of new Local Nature Reserves designated by 2010 and a further 36ha designated between 2010 and 2020 to achieve English Nature’s “1 in a 1000” Local Nature Reserve Target.
  • Target E2d – to increase tree cover to 8% by 2020.
  • Target E2e – To produce the supplementary planning document on development and flood risk by 2006.
  • Target E2f – All homes to be within 300 metres of a natural greenspace of at least 2ha. in size.
  • Target E2g – At least one accessible natural greenspace of 20ha. within 2km. of every home.
  • Target E2h – One accessible natural greenspace of 100ha. within 5km. of every home.
  • Target E2i – One accessible natural greenspace of 500ha. within 10km. of every home.

OBJECTIVE E3 - To protect and enhance biodiversity and habitats

  • Target E3a – During the plan period there will be no net loss of/ or damage to protected species and habitats as a result of development.

OBJECTIVE E4 – To maintain the Borough’s Green Belt

  • Target E4a – All areas of Green Belt to be protected from inappropriate development, unless “very special circumstances” can be demonstrated

OBJECTIVE E5 – To protect and enhance the Borough’s landscape

OBJECTIVE E6 – To protect other major open land areas other than Green Belt

  • Target E6a – All Major Open Areas to be protected from inappropriate development.

OBJECTIVE E7 - To improve the Borough’s watercourses including its rivers and the canal

  • Target E7a – Maintain all rivers at Good/Fair quality.

OBJECTIVE E8 - To protect the best agricultural land and promote rural diversification

  • Target E8a – No more than 3% of best and most versatile agricultural land in the Borough lost from agriculture.


This section includes the Council’s land use policies and proposals for the Borough’s environment. Each policy is numbered (E1, E2, E3, etc.), and is followed by any land use specific proposals (numbered E1/1, E1/2, etc), which are also shown on the Proposals Map, and a reasoned justification. The reasoned justification explains why the Council have included a particular policy in the Local Plan.


Development likely to have an adverse effect on the South Pennines European Special Protection Area/Special Area of Conservation/Site of Special Scientific Interest, shown on the Proposals Map, will not be permitted.

Development likely to have an adverse effect on any subsequently designated internationally, or nationally, important sites will also not be permitted.



A large part of Burnley’s moorland has been designated as a European Special Protection Area for its internationally important bird species and as a Special Area of Conservation for its Moorland habitat; the whole of this area is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).


The South Pennine Moors qualifies for designation under the European Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds (the Birds Directive), by supporting nationally important breeding populations of merlin and golden plover, as well as a nationally important breeding population of migratory species, such as curlew. The site is also important for supporting, in summer, a large number and variety of breeding migratory birds of moorland and moorland fringe habitats including: peregrine falcon, lapwing, whinchat, common sandpiper and twite.


SSSIs are statutory sites of national nature conservation value notified by English Nature under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981(as amended). They represent the best of the country’s habitats i.e. its critical environmental capital and contribute to the biological diversity of the Borough.


Protecting wildlife habitats is central to the conservation of the Borough’s environments and many of the habitats are irreplaceable. Collectively, statutory and non-statutory wildlife sites are considered the “the key biodiversity resource” and any losses would be considered significant in the immediate locality and beyond and would be difficult or impossible to make good for all practical purposes (e.g. because of antiquity, complexity, location or special environmental characteristics.)

Target: E2a


Development likely to have an adverse effect on the Biological Heritage Sites, Regionally important Geological/ Geomorphological Sites or Local Nature Reserves shown on the Proposals Map, will not be permitted.



The Biological Heritage Sites Partnership, including Lancashire County Council, English Nature and the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, has designated 36 Biological Heritage Sites across the Borough.


A County Heritage Site is a non-statutory designation given to sites of importance to nature conservation and denotes the best and most representative sites in the region.


Sites are selected by assessment against a set of written guidelines, and those currently satisfying the guidelines are listed in Appendix E and shown on the Proposals Map. These sites may be added to in the future.


The Council intends to protect the Borough’s biological and geological heritage for its own value and for the enjoyment of residents and visitors now and in the future.


A Local Nature Reserve is designated under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 for the purposes of preserving flora, fauna, or geological or physiographical features of special interest and for the informal enjoyment of nature by the public.


In agreement with English Nature, such sites can be managed for both nature conservation and for educational and recreational use by local people and schools. They can offer special opportunities for people to see and enjoy wildlife and safeguard important natural features.


The Deer Pond in Towneley Park and Lowerhouse Lodges are currently the Borough’s only Local Nature Reserves, however, the Council will keep under review other sites that may qualify as Local Nature Reserves.


If further sites of local importance are identified the Council will review this policy.


Collectively, statutory and non-statutory wildlife sites are considered the “the key biodiversity resource” and any losses would be considered significant in the immediate locality and beyond and would be difficult or impossible to make good for all practical purposes (e.g. because of antiquity, complexity, location or special environmental characteristics.)

Target: E2a, E2b, and E2c


Development will not be permitted where it would sever, or significantly detract from the function of Wildlife Links and Corridors, as shown on the Proposals Map.

Where development is permitted:

  1. planning conditions and agreements will be used to provide safeguards and compensatory measures where appropriate; and
  2. new development will be expected to enhance existing Wildlife Corridors and, where appropriate, provide extensions.


Rivers, canals, railways and roadside verges that are linked together form a network and a connection between town and countryside. Isolated sites support a smaller number of species, but by linking areas of greenspace to the surrounding countryside animals can move along the links and plants and seeds can disperse to improve the biodiversity of the area. A greater number of species will only be encouraged by increasing the number, quality and linkage between wildlife sites within the urban area.


It is therefore essential to protect existing links from development which would reduce their length or sever them completely. Damage to their value as links and corridors will be resisted unless the Council is satisfied that adequate alternatives can be provided.


Opportunities to develop new links adjacent to existing wildlife corridors, or to extend, or enhance, existing Wildlife Corridors, will be sought wherever opportunities arise.

Target: E3a


Features of ecological value and potential such as ponds, hedgerows, dry stone walls and watercourses and their associated corridors will be safeguarded wherever possible by requiring their retention in new development. Proposals should take advantage of opportunities to create new wildlife habitats where these can be included as part of a site layout and landscaping schemes.

Where necessary, planning agreements will be required to secure appropriate management of such sites.



Our local countryside is valuable even outside important designated sites and, as a consequence, there are numerous natural and manmade features of ecological value and potential that are not formally designated sites. The aim of this policy is to protect these features of biological, geological and landscape interest from development pressure.


In order to be sustainable, development should not just protect but also look at positive opportunities for enhancing biodiversity and the landscape value of a site. Due weight will be given to proposals for additional enhancement through tree and shrub planting schemes or habitat creation such as wildflower areas, hedge planting, ponds or wetland features (especially where linked to sustainable drainage scheme), provision of nest boxes, where appropriate.


Opportunities for biodiversity and landscape enhancement will be sought in connection with development for the creation, extension or improvement of wildlife habitats, in particular through the restoration of mineral or waste sites.


To ensure that there is no net loss of biodiversity throughout the Borough, the Council will, where appropriate, ensure that the policies for the protection of natural assets are satisfied through the use of planning conditions and obligations.


Where ecological features are unavoidably lost to development, the Council will expect compensatory measures such as the creation of new habitats – woodlands, ponds, etc. – and the professional removal and transplanting of animal and plant species.


The Lancashire Biodiversity Action Plan identifies targets for species and habitats appropriate to Lancashire and aims to ensure that opportunities for conservation and enhancement of the biodiversity resource are fully considered.


The Council is committed to preparing a Supplementary Planning Document to identify locally important wildlife sites.

Target: E2a, and E3a


The presence of a protected species will be a material consideration in determining any planning application.

Development that would affect sites supporting species protected by law will not be permitted unless

  1. adequate provision is made within the proposed development to avoid disturbance to the species and habitat in question; or
  2. adequate provision is made, by way of planning conditions or agreements, to:
    1. facilitate the survival of the individual species affected;
    2. reduce the disturbance to a minimum; and
    3. provide adequate alternative habitats to sustain the viability of the local population of that species.


Nature Conservation designations are not always related to sites. Threatened wildlife species are protected through Part 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, as amended, and other legislation including the Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) Regulations 1994. Amongst other things, it is an offence to damage the resting or breeding places of protected animals and to destroy any protected plants. Where protected species are known, or suspected to exist, English Nature will be consulted to ensure that protected species are adequately taken into account in any proposed development. The Council will require applicants to undertake a survey to identify the types of protected species present and the location and nature of their habitats. Information sources include the Lancashire Biodiversity Action Plan and the North West Biodiversity Audit and the Red Data list for Lancashire.


Provision can often be made to avoid or minimise disturbance and damage to species through careful design, landscaping, timing and method of development. Where it is not possible to retain species in situ, it may be considered acceptable to provide alternative habitats. Planning conditions and, where appropriate, planning agreements will be used to secure suitable safeguards and management.


Where the Council or English Nature considers that satisfactory provisions have not been provided or cannot be achieved, then development will be considered inappropriate.

Target: E3a


Existing trees, woodlands and hedgerows will be protected from development unless there is no significant loss to environment, amenity, historic, archaeological and nature conservation interests.

Conservation of existing woodland will be encouraged through appropriate management measures. Existing ancient woodland will be safeguarded.



Trees are a much loved and valued part of the landscape, whether singly, or as part of a group, whether in the town or in the country, providing a rich habitat for a wide variety of plants, animals, insects and birds. They provide an attractive setting for leisure pursuits, bring variety and texture into the landscape and have considerable potential as an economic resource. However, many parts of the Borough lack trees. Existing woodlands and hedges are often over-mature and neglected. Only six, small areas of ancient woodland remain. The Council therefore actively seeks to protect the remaining trees and woodlands in the Borough for the enjoyment of future generations. Tree Preservation Orders can be used by the Council to protect trees that are under threat or ensure that trees are properly looked after during and after development, avoiding, where possible, building under tree canopies or within the rooting zone as this may lead to future problems


A need for new tree planting for ecological, environmental and recreational reasons has been recognised. And, to this end, funding has been secured through the Forest of Burnley Initiative in an attempt to increase the extent of the Borough’s woodland cover and ensure that existing and new woodlands are managed properly by their owners. All new woodland planting schemes will be expected to be appropriate to the geology of the site and to follow the guidance set out in Forestry Commission Bulletin 112: Creating New Native Woodlands.


Protection of some hedgerows of historic or nature conservation importance is given through the 1997 Hedgerow Regulations.

Target: E2d, and E3a


Proposals adjacent to the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, the Rivers Brun and Calder, reservoirs, ponds, streams and other water features will not be permitted where the existing water quality, amenity, recreation, nature conservation and wildlife value is adversely affected, unless suitable mitigating measures are taken to avoid or minimise damage.



The Rivers Brun and Calder and the Leeds-Liverpool Canal are the main watercourses through the town. There are also a number of reservoirs, such as Clowbridge and Cant Clough, and tributaries, such as Green Brook, Sep Clough and Shaw Brook.


These all have the potential to provide appropriate locations for recreation as well as being of amenity, landscape and wildlife value. The Council is therefore keen to retain, improve, or restore public access to water courses and water bodies, where appropriate, and ensure that development has regard to, and does not harm, the recreational and amenity potential of inland waters. However, the promotion of water recreation, and ancillary facilities, should not be at the expense of the character of the area and a balance will have to be reached between the recreational needs and nature conservation and wildlife interests.

Target: E7a


Development will not be permitted if:

  1. it would increase the risk of flooding:
    1. by reducing the capacity of, or increasing flows within a flood plain; or
    2. through discharge of additional surface water; or
    3. by harming flood defences.
  2. it would be at risk itself from flooding;
  3. adequate provision is not made for access to watercourses for maintenance; and
  4. the proposal does not include adequate flood protection measures.

A Flood Risk Assessment will be required where it is considered that there would be an increased risk of flooding as a result of development, or the development would be at risk of flooding.



Within Burnley, several watercourses have a flood plain that is liable to flood during a period of high flow.


The aim of this policy is to ensure that the effectiveness of that flood plain is not impaired by development, its occupiers are not put at risk and that additional water run-off from the development does not exceed the capacity of water resources and the flood plain downstream.


Current concerns over climate change and sea level rise have reinforced the importance of safeguarding floodplains. In determining planning applications, the Council will take into consideration the latest available data and will consult the Environment Agency on proposals in proximity to flood risk areas. Developers will be required to carry out detailed flood risk assessments to evaluate the extent of the risk.


The Environment Agency has prepared maps showing the areas of flood risk and intend to prepare flood catchment management plans. The Council will prepare supplementary planning guidance to identify the areas of flood risk within the Borough and provide technical support to this policy.


To reduce the risk of flooding the Council will encourage applicants to consider the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems – see General Policy GP3: - “Design and Quality”.

Target: E2e.


Development will not be permitted where it would have an adverse effect on the quantity or quality of groundwater resources.



The protection of the Borough’s groundwater resources is a key part of ensuring a sustainable environment.


Ground water continuously feeds rivers and streams through springs and seepage into riverbeds so that underground and surface water resources are inextricably linked. The availability of ground water and, as a consequence, the whole water environment can be harmed if ground water resources are prevented from refilling. This can be the result of diverting the flow water, changing land use or by minerals extraction. The planning system can assist in the protection of water resources by resisting development which would unduly harm existing groundwater resources.


Water resources are under pressure from both pollution and rising demand from industry and use in the home. In order to manage water resources in a sustainable way development should be limited to those locations were adequate resources already exist or where new provision can be made without detriment to the natural environment. Successful management of our water resources will be achieved through close liaison with the Environment Agency who have powers and duties under the Water Resources Act 1991 concerning the monitoring and protection of ground water and surface water resources. They are a statutory consultee and the Council will consult closely with them on any proposals which would result in an adverse affect on the quantity and quality of groundwater resources.


Measures to reduce the demand for water, including water efficient devices, should be incorporated into development wherever possible, particularly in those areas where existing resources are under pressure. Advice on suitable measures can be obtained from the Environment Agency.


The Council will not permit proposals which adversely affect the character, architectural or historic interest of a Listed Building, or its setting. Proposals will only be permitted where they:

  1. retain and repair features of architectural or historic interest;
  2. use appropriate materials and traditional working practices;
  3. have no adverse effect on the setting of the building, including trees, walls, gardens, and any other structure or object within the curtilage of the building;
  4. make provision for the appropriate recording of any architectural or historic features that are to be removed during repair or alteration; and
  5. are appropriate in terms of siting, size, scale and design of any extension.


The town’s Listed Buildings are an irreplaceable asset. There is a general presumption in favour of their preservation.


Generally, the best way of securing the upkeep of historic buildings and areas is to keep them in active use. For the majority this will mean economically viable uses, which will often necessitate sympathetic adaptation and conversion.


Many listed buildings can sustain some degree of sensitive alteration, or extension, and indeed cumulative changes which reflect the history and ownership of a building are themselves an aspect of special interest. However, listed buildings vary greatly and proposals for alterations and extensions must be based on a good understanding of the building in question.


Burnley has many fine and historically significant listed buildings. These buildings are an essential ingredient in the character and identity of the town, and landmarks in the town’s historical development. In particular, there are the buildings that remain from the town’s historical significance as a textile centre in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century. The economic regeneration potential of this heritage is highlighted in RSS for the North West Policy ER4 – “Contribution of Built Heritage to Regeneration”.


Where proposals involve the substantial alteration, or demolition, of important features opportunity must be provided for bodies such as the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England to arrange suitable programmes of recording of features that would be destroyed in the course of the proposed works.


To ensure that development affecting Listed Buildings can be properly assessed all proposals must be accompanied by fully detailed drawings.

Target: E1a, and E1c.


Consent for the total or substantial demolition of Listed Buildings will not be granted other than in the most exceptional circumstances, and only when the Council is satisfied that every effort has been made to retain the building in its existing or a viable new use. Applicants will be expected to provide documentary evidence that:

  1. all reasonable efforts have been made to sustain existing or find viable new uses and these efforts have failed;
  2. that preservation in some form of charitable or community ownership is not possible or suitable;
  3. redevelopment would produce substantial benefits for the community which would decisively outweigh the loss resulting from demolition; and
  4. all potential sources of grant funded assistance have been explored.

Where development is deemed to be acceptable in principle the Council will require the developer to make appropriate and satisfactory provision for the recording of the building before demolition commences. There will be a requirement for detailed plans for redevelopment to be approved before demolition commences along with the letting of a contract for the proposed development. Where appropriate, the Council will expect the applicant to re-use building materials and architectural features on site. 



When considering proposals for the demolition of Listed Buildings, the presumption will be in favour of preserving the building. However, there will very occasionally be cases where demolition will be unavoidable. In these cases, the Council will need to be convinced that all reasonable efforts have been made to sustain existing uses or find viable new uses, and these efforts have failed. The demolition of any Grade I or Grade II* building would be wholly exceptional and would require the strongest justification.


Where proposals would result in the total or substantial demolition of a listed building, the following considerations will need to be addressed:

  • The condition of the building, the cost of repairing and maintaining it in relation to its importance and to the value derived from its continued use;
  • The adequacy of efforts made to retain the building in use and/or find other alternative uses. This should include the offer of the unrestricted freehold of the building on the open market at a realistic price reflecting the building’s condition; and
  • The merit of alternative redevelopment proposals for the site, although this itself will not justify demolition.

Where a proposal is deemed acceptable, the Council will use legal agreements or planning conditions to ensure that developers make appropriate and satisfactory provision for the recording of the building before demolition commences. This recording will go beyond that required by Statute. It will be expected that prior approval has been obtained for detailed redevelopment plans along with the letting of a contract for the proposed development.


The demolition of buildings provides the opportunity for the re-use of building materials. Where appropriate, the re-use of building materials and architectural features will be encouraged.

Target: E1e


The Council will preserve and enhance the character of the Borough’s Conservation Areas, shown on the Proposals Map.

Where permission for new development and/or alterations to buildings in the Conservation Areas is required, permission will only be granted when the following criteria are satisfied:

  1. the proposal respects the character of the Conservation Area in terms of quality, siting, detailing, height, scale, materials, landscaping and external appearance;
  2. the proposal will enhance the streetscape and retain historic street patterns and materials, avoiding the creation of a gap in an established frontage, or the inclusion of inappropriate buildings or features which detract from the townscape features that make the Conservation Area special;
  3. significant views into and out of the Conservation Area are safeguarded;
  4. the proposal does not lead to the loss of open space, trees or other landscape features which contribute to the area; and
  5. the proposal does not generate levels of traffic and parking which would be detrimental to the character or appearance of the area. 


The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 places a duty on the Council to designate as Conservation Areas any areas of special architectural, or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.


The Council has designated 10 Conservation Areas, and they are shown on the Proposals Map. They are as follows:

  • E12/1 – Burnley Town Centre
  • E12/2 – Padiham
  • E12/3 – Burnley Wood
  • E12/4 – Palatine
  • E12/5 – Canalside
  • E12/6 – Top o’ th’ Town
  • E12/7 – Jib Hill
  • E12/8 – Harle Syke
  • E12/9 – Worsthorne
  • E12/10 – Hurstwood

However, designation is not the end of the process and it is vital that development is controlled to protect the character of the Borough’s Conservation Areas.


In doing this, development proposals will be expected to reflect the special character and appearance of their surroundings. Development which does not demonstrate this will not be permitted.


Development on sites adjacent to Conservation Areas can also have an adverse effect on the Area’s setting. This policy will therefore also be used to assess development proposals adjacent to, or affecting, Conservation Areas.


To allow development proposals to be fully assessed in terms of their effect on an areas character and appearance the Council will expect applicants to provide detailed plans when submitting their application. For this reason full applications are preferred.


In the future, the Council are committed to producing Conservation Area Statements and Design Guidance to help guide development within the Borough’s Conservation Areas. Where relevant, development will be expected to meet the requirements of any subsequent Conservation Area Statements produced by the Council.

Target: E1a, and E1c.


Consent for the total or substantial demolition of buildings which make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of a Conservation Area will not be granted other than in very exceptional circumstances. Where demolition is proposed, permission will only be granted when:

  1. the building has no architectural or historic value;
  2. removal of the building would have no adverse effect on the character or appearance of the area;
  3. evidence has been supplied that adequate efforts have been made to sustain existing uses or find viable new uses;
  4. there are proposals for redevelopment with the necessary approvals and supporting contract documentation; and
  5. the merits of alternative proposals for the site outweigh those in favour of preservation.

Evidence of criteria (c) and (d) alone will not be sufficient to justify demolition.



The designation of a Conservation Area introduces control over the demolition of most buildings within such Areas. The demolition of unlisted buildings within Conservation Areas can adversely affect the character and appearance of the area and proposals will only be permitted in special cases.


Where demolition and redevelopment are considered acceptable the Council may impose a condition to prevent demolition going ahead before a contract for carrying out redevelopment works has been made. This will prevent sites becoming vacant for many years and such sites detracting from the value of a Conservation Area.

Target: E1a and E1e.


The Council will continue to safeguard the character of areas of historic or architectural interest by designating new Conservation Areas and reviewing existing Conservation Area boundaries where appropriate. The Council will take account of the following when designating and reviewing Conservation Areas:

  1. architectural, historical and archaeological features of the area;
  2. form and layout of buildings;
  3. street patterns, property boundaries, footpaths and historical routes;
  4. open spaces, trees and hedgerows;
  5. the mix of land uses; and
  6. vistas along streets and between buildings


Some areas make a particularly significant contribution to the history and appearance of the Borough. Special care needs to be taken to maintain and improve their attractive visual character. Conservation Area designation gives the Council greater powers to control and guide change in these areas. Development and demolition in Conservation Areas should meet policies Environment policies E12 - “Development in, or adjacent to, Conservation Areas” and E13 - “Demolition in Conservation Areas”.


The present Conservation Areas are shown on the Proposals Map and will be reviewed and added to as appropriate.


Section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 imposes a duty on the Council to designate as Conservation Areas any areas of special architectural or historic interest the character of which it is desirable to preserve and enhance. The Burnley Local Plan sets out the Council’s criteria for the designation of new Conservation Areas.

Target: E1b


Development proposals which materially affect important features of the historic environment will not be permitted unless reasonable measures are taken to avoid unnecessary damage to, or removal of:

  1. locally important buildings;
  2. street materials; and
  3. features of quality and craftsmanship, or of particular local historic importance.


Within the Borough there are a number of locally important buildings which are not statutorily protected, but which contain a number of features, which if lost, would devalue the overall quality of the environment and the identity of Burnley. There are also sites which contain a number of interesting features and artefacts, many of which are Locally Listed or Unscheduled Ancient Monuments.


These sites are recognised for their:

  • Historic Value – such as datestones, milestones, and nonconformist chapels;
  • Archaeological value – such as industrial archaeological sites which are not otherwise protected;
  • Architectural Value – including watershot gritstone walling, stone slab roofing and three-light window arrangements on rural houses;
  • Craftsmanship – old or modern works displaying quality or artistry; and
  • Potential Added Value to a development – such as boundary walls, railings, gates, stone kerbs, stone steps, lamps, cobbled surfaces and hidden features.

The aim of this policy is to retain those elements which may not be individually exceptional, but add together to make up a distinctive townscape.


Where the merits of a particular development outweigh the benefits of retaining features, the developer will, in appropriate circumstances, be required to carefully relocate such features at their own cost, to a place approved by the Council, either within the development site, or other area by agreement.

Target: E1g

Placeholder for Policy E16



An area of traditional construction can be found wherever there is a predominance of stone buildings. Large parts of Burnley and Padiham town centres, together with the terraced housing found around Padiham, Burnley Wood, Stoneyholme, Daneshouse and Whittlefield, are all examples of such areas. They already have strong identities, and the aim of this policy is to maintain their character through the changes brought about by improvement, redevelopment and infill buildings. 


Traditional rural buildings are an essential part of the attractive rural landscapes of the Borough. It is important that new building in the countryside maintains this rural character. 


In general, traditional rural buildings are made of stone (sometimes rendered or colour-washed), with pitched, gable roofs of grey stone slate or Welsh blue slate, and simple form and detailing. 


The Council will seek to preserve and enhance the Parks and Gardens included in English Heritage’s Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. Within the Borough they are as follows:

  • E17/1 – Towneley Park;
  • E17/2 – Gawthorpe Hall;
  • E17/3 – Thompson Park;
  • E17/4 – Scott Park; and
  • E17/5 – Queens Park.

Development within and adjoining historic parks and gardens, will be permitted provided that all of the following criteria are satisfied:

  1. it would not lead to the loss of, or harm to, the historic character, setting and appearance of the park or garden and any important landscape or ecological features within it;
  2. the proposals are compatible with the character and appearance of the surrounding area; and
  3. the site has adequate access and the traffic generated can be safely accommodated on the local highway network.


The Borough has five historic parks and gardens, Towneley Park, Thompson Park, Scott Park, Queens Park and the gardens associated with Gawthorpe Hall. All of these form a significant resource for local residents and visitors, and there is potential for them to improve and develop. However, care must be taken not to damage the special character and features of the park or of the surrounding environment. Consideration should be given to the transport implications of any proposal.


Development proposals within Towneley Park will be expected to have regard to the Towneley Park Management Plan and the Heritage Lottery Bid for Towneley Park.

Target: E1h


Scheduled Ancient Monuments should be preserved where they are found. Development which fails to preserve the archaeological value and interest of Ancient Monuments or their settings will not be permitted.

The 22 existing Scheduled Ancient Monuments are identified on the Proposals Map:

  • E18/1 – Queen Street Mill engine
  • E18/2 – Small stone circle on Delf Hill
  • E18/3 – Pike low bowl barrow and site of beacon, Bonfire Hill
  • E18/4 – Bowl barrow 90m East of Twist Castle
  • E18/5 – Bowl barrow 155m East of Beadle Hill
  • E18/6 – Bowl barrow 140m East of Beadle Hill
  • E18/7 – Saucer barrow 90m East of Ell Clough
  • E18/8 – Ring cairn 25m East of Ell Clough
  • E18/9 – Beadle Hill Romano-British farmstead
  • E18/10 – Twist Castle Romano-British farmstead
  • E18/11 – Burwains Camp prehistoric defended settlement West of Broad Bank Hill
  • E18/12 – Ice house at Towneley Hall
  • E18/13 – Oakmount Mill engine and engine house, Wiseman Street
  • E18/14 – Group of barrows in Everage Clough
  • E18/15 – Hapton Castle
  • E18/16 – Ightenhill Manor (site of)
  • E18/17 – Bowl barrow on Hameldon Pasture
  • E18/18 – Round cairn on Hameldon Pasture
  • E18/19 – Ring cairn on Slipper Hill
  • E18/20 – Two Romano-British farmsteads known as Ring Stones
  • E18/21 – Heights Farm World War Two Bombing Decoy
  • E18/22 – Thieveley Lead Mine


Archaeological remains should be seen as a finite, non-renewable resource: in many cases, highly fragile and vulnerable to damage and destruction. They are part of our national heritage and are valuable both for their own sake and for their role in education, leisure and tourism.


The most nationally important sites are protected as Scheduled Ancient Monuments under the Archaeological Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.


Works to Ancient Monuments need Scheduled Monuments Consent from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.


Where nationally important remains, or their settings, are affected by proposed development there is a presumption in favour of their physical preservation in situ (where they are found). Proposals which would involve significant alteration, or cause damage, or which would have a significant impact on the setting of visible remains will not be permitted.

Target: E1f.


Before the Council determines an application for development that may affect known or potential sites of archaeological interest, applicants will be required to make provision for an archaeological assessment. This assessment should define:

  1. the character and condition of any archaeological monuments or remains within the application site;
  2. the likely impact of the proposed development on such features; and
  3. the means of mitigating the effect of the proposed development to achieve preservation of the remains in situ, or ,where this is not feasible or justifiable, provision for excavation and archaeological recording prior to the commencement of development.


As well as the Scheduled Ancient Monuments, there are other important archaeological sites within the Borough that are not scheduled, but which nevertheless merit conservation.


Appropriate management is necessary to ensure that these sites survive in good condition. In particular, that archaeological remains are not needlessly or thoughtlessly destroyed.


The key to preserving these sites and reconciling the needs of archaeology and development will be early consultation between developers, the Council and the County Council. Consultation with the County Archaeological Officer and the Lancashire Sites and Monuments Record will be essential to ascertain whether archaeological remains are known or thought likely to exist on particular sites.


Where early discussions indicate that important archaeological remains exist, developers will be required to undertake an archaeological assessment as part of the planning application. This will help to define the character and extent of the archaeological remains that exist, and indicate the weight which ought to be attached to their preservation. It can also identify potential options for minimising or avoiding damage. Thus allowing an informed and reasonable planning decision to be taken.


Where development is found to be acceptable, the preservation in situ of important archaeological remains is always to be preferred. Developers can help in this by preparing sympathetic designs, or by the careful siting of landscaped or open areas.


Where physical preservation in situ is not justified or feasible, an archaeological excavation for the purposes of “preservation by record” may be considered. However, this is regarded as the second best option as excavation in itself results in the destruction of the site and the loss of in situ remains for future generations. Legal agreements or planning conditions will be used to ensure that developers make appropriate and satisfactory provision for the excavation and recording of the remains.


During the construction process reasonable access will be required to give the Council’s nominated archaeologist the opportunity to hold a “watching brief” or carry out archaeological investigation and recording in the course of the permitted operations on the site.


New development will be permitted where:

  1. it respects skylines, roofscapes and views; and
  2. it does not detract from the public view of prominent or important buildings, or affect views into and out of Major Open Areas, by intruding into or on their margins

The landscape of Burnley provides a number of attractive views. This unique and distinctive heritage should be protected and further enhanced by new development within the Town.


The geographical position of Burnley has influenced the town’s development, providing spectacular views both into, and out of the town. Another influence on the views within the Borough is the physical development of the town and its industrial heritage, with many viewpoints around the town giving fine views of rows and rows of terraced streets and landmark buildings.


As well as long distance views into and out of the Borough there are also many examples of prominent buildings and structures, the view of which could be obscured by insensitively placed development. For example, the Town Hall, the viaduct at Central station and the Straight Mile.


To ensure that the design of proposals does not detract from prominent and important views within the Borough they will also be assessed with regard to Burnley Local Plan General Policy GP3 – “Design and Quality”.


The Borough’s Major Open Areas are protected by Community Facilities policy CF3 – “Protection of existing Informal Recreation Areas, Parks and Major Open Areas”. They are identified in Appendix G and shown on the Proposals Map.


Development adjoining or visible from the gateways and throughroutes identified on the Proposals Map will be permitted when it is of good quality design and enhances its surroundings by:

  1. the use of traditional and local materials, or suitable artificial alternatives;
  2. the provision of suitable and appropriate landscaping;
  3. appropriate siting, scale and quality of signage and advertising;
  4. the need to give priority to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport in design and traffic management; and
  5. where appropriate the inclusion of public art, see Environment Policy E22 – “Public Art”.

The Council will, along with the County Council and the private sector, make environmental improvements at the following gateways to the Borough:

  • Whalley Road, Padiham
  • Accrington Road
  • Junction of Accrington Road/Rossendale Road
  • Manchester Road
  • Junction of Manchester Road/Centenary Way
  • Red Lees Road
  • Colne Road


The approaches to the town, or gateways, and the routes through the town, are where people, especially those from out of town, form either a positive or negative impression of the town. At, and on, all identified gateways and throughroutes the Council will expect all new development to enhance its surroundings and make a positive contribution to the image of the Borough.


The defined throughroutes in Burnley are:

  • The M65
  • Accrington Road
  • Manchester Road
  • Rossendale Road/Glen View Road
  • Padiham Road/Burnley Road
  • Colne Road
  • Yorkshire Street/Brunshaw Road/Red LeesRoad
  • Briercliffe Road/Burnley Road
  • Eastern Avenue/Queen Victoria Road/Belvedere Road/Todmorden Road
  • Cavalry Way/Westgate
  • A6068 (Junction 8 M65 – Shuttleworth Mead)
  • Church Street/Blackburn Road, Padiham
  • Whalley Road, Padiham
  • The Colne to Blackpool South rail line
  • The Leeds/York/Scarborough to Blackpool North rail line


When dealing with applications for large-scale (over 750sq. metres) or prominent development at gateways or along throughroutes the Council will require projects to include works of Public Art. This will be secured either by a unilateral undertaking by the applicant or via a Section 106 Agreement.

The Council will require at least one percent of the capital budget of a building to be put aside for commissioning new works by artists and craftspeople, e.g. stained glass, tapestries, photographs, sculpture, murals, tiling and paving design. The total percentage may vary depending on the size and scale of the building or the nature or location of the project. 



Public Art plays an important role in enhancing our environment and the Arts Council for Great Britain has asked local authorities to adopt the principle of promoting art in new development.


Public Art is defined as works by artists and crafts people that can be viewed from external or internal public spaces. It may include art work incorporated into building facades, tapestries, murals, sculptures, railings and other street furniture.


This policy supports the objectives of the Burnley Cultural Strategy by encouraging the development of a programme of Public Art, advocating a greater role for Public Art in major regeneration schemes, especially in relation to the town centre, and developing the role of Public Art by raising awareness amongst private and public sectors.

Target: E1k.


Proposals for telecommunications development which either require planning permission, or prior approval, will be permitted where:

  1. there is no adverse impact on sites or features of ecological value;
  2. any adverse impact on the appearance and character of the surrounding area in terms of scale, siting or design is minimised;
  3. there is no adverse impact on Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas and their settings, Scheduled Ancient Monuments or sites of national archaeological importance; and
  4. any adverse effect on the amenity of adjoining residential areas is minimised.

Where proposals are acceptable, the Council will grant planning permission providing:

  1. applicants have provided evidence that they have explored the possibility of erecting antennae on an existing site, building, mast or other structure and that there is no reasonable prospect of sharing such an existing site; and
  2. applicants have supplied evidence that the base station meets the ICNIRP guidelines for public exposure and provided information for each site, its location, height of antenna, the frequency and modulation characteristics and details of power output.


The Government’s general policy on telecommunications is to facilitate the growth of new and existing systems, whilst protecting the  countryside and urban environments – in particular Sites of Special Scientific Interest, the Green Belt, Local Nature Reserves and areas and buildings of architectural or historic importance.


Pre-application discussions are encouraged not only between operators and local planning authorities, but also between operators and other organisations with an interest in the proposed development, such as English Nature, the Countryside Agency, English Heritage, the Highways Agency, residents’ groups and parish councils. Where it is proposed to install a mast on, or near a school or college, it is important that operators discuss this with the relevant body of the school or college concerned before submitting an application for planning permission or prior approval.


From time to time, conflict between the need to provide for the needs of modern telecommunications and the need to protect the environment can arise. In these cases the Council will expect operators to show that they have explored every possibility of sharing an existing mast or using existing buildings, and explain why they have rejected using existing structures. In order to take full advantage of the opportunities for mast and site sharing, the Council will refer to the national database that is being set up by the Radio Communications Agency giving details of all mobile phone base stations and their emissions.


Where the operator can demonstrate that it is not possible for an existing structure to be used, the Council will expect the visual impact of the proposed tower or mast to be minimised in line with the above criteria, as far as technical constraints allow.


Certain types of telecommunications development are allowed as permitted development, but the Council can intervene if siting is unsatisfactory.


There is much public concern about the possible adverse health impacts of telecommunications development. The Stewart Report, published in May 2000, examined the health effects of mobile phone use, base stations and transmitters. In respect of base stations, it concluded that the balance of evidence indicated that there was no general risk to health of people living near to base stations. However, gaps in current scientific knowledge led the group to recommend a precautionary approach towards the use of mobile phone technologies. In line with the approach recommended by the report, all mobile phone base stations will be expected to meet the guidelines of theInternational Commission on Non Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines for limiting the exposure to electromagnetic fields.


Applications to display advertisements will be permitted provided that the following criteria are satisfied. The proposal:

  1. would not adversely affect the visual amenity of the neighbourhood where it is to be displayed, particularly in terms of size, design, positioning and illumination;
  2. respects the scale of its surroundings; and
  3. would not be contrary to the interests of public safety or constitute a traffic safety hazard.


PPG19: “Outdoor Advertisement Control” highlights how outdoor advertising is essential to commercial activity and can take many forms. Amongst the most common are fascia signs and projecting signs on shops, pole signs, menu boards, poster hoardings and advance signs alongside the highway.


Well designed advertisements can contribute positively to the character or appearance of an area, by adding appropriate colour to a drab area, or screening an eyesore. However, poorly designed, or insensitively positioned, advertisements will have the opposite effect.


The Council has the power to control the display of outdoor advertisements in the interests of amenity and public safety.


When assessing an advertisement’s impact on amenity the Council will have regard to its affect on the appearance of the building or on visual amenity in the immediate neighbourhood where it is to be displayed. Consideration will be given to what impact the advertisement, including its cumulative effect, will have on its surroundings. In particular, the Council will look at the local characteristics of the neighbourhood including, the scenic, historic, architectural or cultural features, which contribute to the distinctive character of the locality.


The context of an area determines what type of advertising is appropriate. For example, the presence of Listed Buildings or a designated Conservation Area and whether it is a town centre, residential area or open countryside will all be relevant considerations. For example, in the open countryside, the land-form and quality of the immediate surroundings, whether the advertisement respects natural contours, landscape character and background features against which it will be seen, will be relevant factors.


In assessing an advertisement’s impact on public safety the Council will have regard to the likely affect of the proposal upon the safe use and operation of any mode of transport. Where an advertisement itself, or the location proposed for its display is likely to be so distracting, or so confusing that it creates a hazard to, or endangers, people in the vicinity, permission will not be granted.


Applications for new shop fronts and/or external security shutters will be permitted when:

  1. the new shop front is well designed and sympathetic to its surroundings in terms of scale, proportion and materials;
  2. new fascia signs are in keeping with the character of the shop front, and the building as a whole. Particular attention will be paid to size, proportions, materials, positioning, colouring and style of lettering; and
  3. security shutters are designed to integrate into the design of the shop front and maintain an open appearance.


Shop fronts are an important element of the street scene, particularly within town and district centres. Well - designed shop fronts can make a positive contribution to an area. Conversely, those designs which are insensitive and obtrusive can only spoil the character of an area.


Circular 5/94: “Planning Out Crime” highlights how security shutters are an illustration of the conflict that exists between the need for effective crime prevention measures and the need to maintain or improve the environmental quality of an area. Proposals for their introduction, particularly in environmentally sensitive areas, can be controversial.


The use of solid roller shutters which create a fortress-like atmosphere, can be self-defeating as they can have an adverse environmental effect, giving the area a “dead” appearance and contributing to the creation of a hostile atmosphere. Consideration should be given to the use of shutters with an open grille design as this type of shutter can let light from the premises onto the street outside normal trading hours and can help maintain the attractiveness of the area. Using shutters of this type will also enable passers-by to see into the shop, which can help to deter crime.


Proposals which affect Listed buildings or premises which are situated within Conservation Areas will be subject to stricter control to ensure that all traditional shop fronts which are of historic or architectural value, or contribute to the character of the area are retained or restored.


Proposals for Hot Food Takeaways will be assessed with regard to Community Facility policy CF11 - “Restaurants, Cafes, Public Houses and Hot Food Takeaways” and proposals for Taxi booking offices will be assessed with regard to policy Transport and Movement Policy TM13 - “Taxis and Taxi Booking Offices”.



Within the Green Belt defined on the Proposals Map the Council will only permit development for the following:

A - New Buildings

The construction of new buildings in the Green Belt is inappropriate except for the following:

  1. agricultural and forestry uses (unless permitted development rights have been withdrawn);
  2. cemeteries (see also Policy CF21: Graveyards and Burial Places);
  3. essential facilities for outdoor sport and outdoor recreation, and other uses of land which preserve the openness of the Green Belt and do not conflict with the purposes of including land in it; and
  4. limited extension, alteration or replacement of existing dwellings.

B – Re-use of Buildings

The re-use of buildings in the Green Belt will not be inappropriate providing:

  1. it does not have a materially greater impact than the present use on the openness of the Green Belt and the purposes of including land in it;
  2. any extension of re-used buildings, and any associated uses of land surrounding the building do not conflict with the openness of the Green Belt and the purposes of including land in it (e.g. because they involve extensive external storage, or extensive hardstanding, car parking, gardens, boundary walling or fencing);
  3. the buildings are of permanent and substantial construction, and are capable of conversion without major or complete reconstruction; and
  4. the form, bulk and general design of the buildings are in keeping with their surroundings.

C – Replacement Dwellings in the Green Belt

The replacement of dwellings need not be inappropriate, providing the new dwelling is not materially larger than the dwelling it replaces.

D – Park and Ride Development

Park and Ride Development is not inappropriate in Green Belts, provided that it meets the criteria set out in PPG13 ANNEX E: Park and Ride in the Green Belt (See Appendix J).

E – Other Development in the Green Belt

Within the Green Belt other development, not including buildings, will be inappropriate unless it maintains openness and does not conflict with the purposes of including land in the Green Belt. Inappropriate development in the Green Belt will only be permitted when the applicant can demonstrate very special circumstances why permission should be granted.



The Council will maintain a Green Belt to the north and west of the Borough: This will fulfil the following purposes:

  • it will check the unrestricted sprawl of the built -up area;
  • it will prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another;
  • it will assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment; and
  • it will assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.

The Green Belt boundary has been carried forward unaltered from the Burnley Local Plan First Review.


Inappropriate development will not be permitted in the Green Belt unless the applicant can demonstrate that ‘very special circumstances’ exist for planning permission to be granted. Very special circumstances to justify inappropriate development will not exist unless the harm by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm, is clearly outweighed by other considerations.

Target: E4a.


All proposals for new development in Rural Areas and the Green Belt will be expected to contribute to the protection, enhancement and restoration of the Borough’s distinctive landscape character by:

  1. protecting critical environmental capital and key features in the landscape,
  2. protecting the setting of rural and urban settlements;
  3. protecting, enhancing and restoring archaeological and historical features;
  4. protecting farmsteads, barns, mills and other prominent buildings, and man made features such as ponds, lodges, and bridges;
  5. protecting and enhancing historic field patterns, including walls and hedgerows;
  6. seeking the use of local materials, or the nearest match, and vernacular styles in all new buildings, walls, and fences, and by resisting urban style lighting, materials and standardised detailing;
  7. maintaining views and avoiding skyline development;
  8. encouraging tree planting, woodland and afforestation of native species when appropriate in the landscape setting;
  9. protecting and restoring native species;
  10. protecting, restoring, enhancing, and creating habitats;
  11. reclaiming derelict land where appropriate; and
  12. by conserving and enhancing river corridors.


Burnley’s surrounding open landscapes are one of the town’s greatest assets. They provide a visually striking setting for the urban area, a recreation resource and green lung in close proximity to the urban area, an important selling point for the growing tourist trade, and contain a number of important biological, archaeological and historical features. Policy ER2 – “Landscape Character” of Regional Spatial Strategy, seeks to enhance and conserve the rich diversity of landscapes throughout the North West, in particular, it identifies the South Pennines landscape as being regionally significant. For these reasons the Burnley Local Plan seeks to protect, enhance and restore the town’s landscapes.


Policy 20 –“ Lancashire’s Landscapes” of the Joint Lancashire Structure Plan 2001-2016 seeks to conserve, renew and enhance the County’s landscapes, and in December 2000, a Landscape Strategy was produced for the County. This Strategy has been used to draw up this policy. The Strategy itself was based on a Landscape Character Assessment, which identified twenty one landscape character types and three urban landscape types across the County, six of these are found in Burnley:

  • Moorland Plateaux of the South Pennine Moors
  • Moorland Fringe of the Trawden Fringe
  • Industrial Foothills and Valleys of the Calder Valley
  • Industrial Foothills and Valleys of the Cliviger Gorge
  • Enclosed Uplands of the Rossendale Hills
  • Settled Valleys of the Irwell

The Landscape Strategy makes specific, detailed recommendations for the planning and management of these landscape types. The Council will aim to produce more detailed design guides for each of these areas in consultation with local communities and parish councils, and in conjunction with other interested bodies, such as the County Council, and SCOSPA – the Standing Conference of South Pennine Authorities. These design guides will build upon and eventually replace the Council’s 1994 Landscape and Wildlife Strategy.


This policy will be implemented in conjunction with Policy GP1 – Development within the Urban Boundary and Policy GP2 – Development in Rural Areas and the Landscape Strategy produced by Lancashire County Council.


The Council will support the diversification of the Borough’s Agricultural economy. Where significant development of agricultural land is unavoidable, areas of poorer quality land (grades 3b, 4 and 5)should be used in preference to that of a higher quality, except where this would be inconsistent with other sustainability considerations.

Development will be permitted where:

  1. farm diversification does not detrimentally affect the local environment or local landscape character in line with Local Plan Policy EW11 – “Rural Diversification and Conversion of Rural Buildings for Employment Uses”;
  2. development will not have a detrimental effect on farm operations, including that on adjoining farmland; and
  3. development would not lead to the severance or fragmentation of farmholdings.

The other sustainability considerations that might justify using land of a higher quality in preference to that of poorer quality will include its importance for biodiversity, the quality and character of the landscape, its amenity value or heritage interest, accessibility to infrastructure, workforce and markets and the protection of natural resources, including soil quality.



The farmed land and moorland around Burnley is mostly of poor agricultural quality and suitable mostly for stock rearing. Income from farming alone is generally no longer sufficient to support farmholdings and between 60% and 70% of local farmers rely on non-agricultural earnings to support their income. The Council will continue to support such farm diversification where it does not detrimentally affect the environment or local landscape character.


The Council will seek to protect poorer grade agricultural land where particular agricultural practices contribute to the character of the landscape or quality of environment in some special way. It is largely the farming of Burnley’s moorlands that has produced the landscape we see to day – the vegetation, the rectangular fields with stone walls, and isolated stone farm buildings. In the future, such farming practices may need to be supported not for their productive value, but for their stewardship of the land.

Target: E8a.


New development for agriculture, which requires planning permission, will be permitted when:

  1. it does not have a detrimental effect on the surrounding landscape by reason of size, scale, height, materials, design, landform or landscaping;
  2. it would not have an unacceptable impact on the amenity of neighbouring properties; and
  3. in the case of new built development it relates well to existing farm buildings.

The Council will use planning conditions to ensure that the new development is removed once the agricultural use has ceased.



This policy will be used to control agricultural development – buildings, structures, or other material change in use of land or buildings - that requires planning permission.


In the past, many agricultural buildings have been erected that have a quality more akin to an industrial estate. Such buildings, whilst functional, detract from the landscape and the character of the area. The Council will no longer permit such development and will seek to ensure that, in the future, agricultural buildings are of a higher quality, and more appropriate to their surroundings in terms of size, scale, siting and use of traditional building styles and materials. In doing this the Council will also take account of the operational needs of the farming industry, and the need to avoid imposing any unnecessary or excessively costly requirements. The Council will produce supplementary guidance on this issue to assist applicants.


In certain cases, permitted development rights on agricultural units of 5 hectares or more cannot be exercised unless the applicant has applied to the Council for a determination as to whether prior approval is required for certain details – siting, design, external appearance, relationship to the surroundings, siting and means of construction of roads. In such instances, the Council will assess whether prior approval is necessary using this policy and guidance in PPS7: “Sustainable Development in Rural Areas”.


Problems can occur when unjustified agricultural structures are permitted and then converted to another use e.g. residential. To avoid this, the Council will require applicants to provide evidence that the use is genuinely necessary and expect the removal of the building if the agricultural use ceases.


Burnley’s close knit blend of town and country often means that urban land uses are often brought into close contact with existing farms. This can lead to a number of problems for the farm holding: crime, vandalism, and complaints about working practices and disturbance. In order to reduce such problems and help preserve the rural economy the Council will seek to minimise the impact of new development when it is permitted adjoining agricultural land.


The Council will only permit development for agricultural worker’s dwellings when the following criteria are met:

  1. the applicant can prove a functional need for the dwelling to the satisfaction of the local planning authority;
  2. the applicant can demonstrate that suitable accommodation is not available, or cannot be provided, within an existing settlement, or the urban area;
  3. the applicant can demonstrate that suitable accommodation cannot be provided by extension, conversion, or re-use of an existing building;
  4. the applicant can demonstrate that the dwelling is necessary for a full-time worker;
  5. the applicant can demonstrate that the agricultural unit is well established and viable;
  6. the dwelling uses local materials, and is of a good, quality, appropriate design which respects local landscape character;
  7. appropriate scale and siting of the dwelling; and
  8. appropriate and satisfactory access arrangements can be achieved.

The Council will not permit temporary accommodation on sites where the applicant cannot satisfy criteria a) to b) above.



The close relationship in Burnley of town and country means that it will rarely be necessary for new agricultural dwellings outside the existing urban area or existing rural settlements (see General Policy GP2 – “Development in Rural Areas”). This policy recognises that on occasion such dwellings may be necessary, due to the demands of the particular agricultural activity concerned. However, applications for such development will be strictly controlled to ensure that the dwelling is genuinely needed to support an agricultural activity and not an attempt to abuse the concession that the planning system gives to such dwellings.


Applicants will have to satisfy the Council that there is a functional agricultural need for the dwelling, no suitable alternative accommodation, and that the farm holding is viable. The latter is particularly relevant given the marginal nature of much farming activity in the Borough.


Where the Council accepts that there is a need to provide an agricultural dwelling in the countryside it will be necessary to ensure that the dwelling is retained for this purpose by attaching an occupancy condition to any planning permission.


The development of wind farms and related development will be approved, provided that:

  1. there is no unacceptable impact on the character of the landscape or on the visual amenity of the area by reason of the siting, number, design, colour or layout of the wind turbines;
  2. there is no unacceptable effect on the setting of buildings and sites of architectural and historic interest and sites of archaeological importance;
  3. there is no unacceptable effect on sites of nature conservation value or biodiversity action plan priority habitats or species;
  4. there is no unacceptable effect on the amenity of local residents
  5. the proposal is close to the electricity distribution network and the length of any overhead electricity connection cables is minimised;
  6. it does not adversely affect any recreational facilities and routes;
  7. any electromagnetic disturbance on existing transmitting or receiving systems is minimised; and
  8. applications are accompanied by a scheme for removal of any associated structures, and reinstatement of the site to its former use in the event of the site becoming non-operational.

Development that would have a negative cumulative impact in relation to existing wind turbines or extant approvals for these, will not be permitted.


The Cliviger wind farm has become a significant and prominent feature in the local landscape. Opinion is divided on whether the wind farm is an attractive or detrimental addition to the local landscape, and a necessary move from fossil to renewable energy sources. This division of local opinion reflects national planning guidance in PPG22: “Renewable Energy”, which seeks to increase energy production from renewable energy sources whilst minimising impact on the environment.


The open, exposed upland areas of Burnley with high, annual, mean wind speeds have potential for further wind farm development. The Council will seek to ensure any further wind farm development respects the character of the local landscape.


The Council will require all proposals to be accompanied by a statement of how the site will be restored to its former state should the turbines become non-operational. All planning approvals will then be conditioned to secure the appropriate restoration of the site.


In assessing proposals for wind farms the Council will request the applicant to submit an Environmental Assessment.


Proposals for other forms of renewable energy development, including biomass, hydro, solar, landfill and biogas, will be permitted when:

  1. any associated buildings are of appropriate size, scale, design and siting;
  2. the site is suitably located in relation to any necessary raw materials;
  3. there is no adverse impact on the character of the landscape, sites of nature conservation, archaeological and historical value;
  4. there is no detrimental impact on any neighbouring land uses, including Listed Building or Conservation Area;
  5. there is no adverse impact caused by any connection or switching equipment;
  6. the level and impact of any potentially polluting substances is minimised;
  7. there is no nuisance or disturbance caused by noise, dust, or smells; and
  8. suitable means for disposal of waste arising are incorporated.


Government policy seeks to stimulate the exploitation and development of renewable energy sources. Renewable energy offers the opportunity of reducing reliance on fossil fuels and reducing harmful emissions to the environment. Renewable energy may also offer the opportunity for increased farm diversification through development of biomass and biogas facilities. The Council will seek to support such proposals where they do not have a detrimental effect on the landscape and environment.


In assessing proposals for renewable energy the Council may, when appropriate, request the applicant to submit an Environmental Assessment.



In order to minimise the amount of untidy and vacant land, demolition or clearance will only be permitted where a suitable permanent or temporary after use has been identified for the clearance site.



Throughout the Borough there are vacant and untidy plots of land. These can be the sites of former buildings which were never redeveloped, undeveloped strips of land between other land uses, and untidy parcels of land within the curtilage of a residential or business property. Vacant and untidy land detracts from the overall environment of an area, and is symptomatic of a lower quality environment. This policy seeks to address this issue, by: bringing vacant land back in to productive uses; requiring landowners to clean up land using powers under section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990; and ensuring that demolition only takes place when a suitable after use has been identified for demolition and clearance sites. The Council will also work with local communities and organisations such as Groundwork to bring sites back in to use and to improve local environments.

Target: E1j.


The Council will permit development to reclaim and reuse derelict land and buildings when:

  1. it would not have a detrimental effect on features of nature conservation value on the site;
  2. it would not harm a Listed Building or Conservation Area;
  3. a suitable after use is identified; and
  4. on contaminated sites appropriate assessment, investigation and remediation measures of a suitable standard for the proposed after use are proposed.

The Council has identified the following sites and areas as priorities for reclamation and re-use:

  • E34/1 – Weavers’ Triangle - see Burnley Town Centre Policy BTC6 – “The Weavers’ Triangle”, General Policy GP4 – “Mixed Use Development”, Economy and Work Policy EW1 – “Land for Business (B1) and Industrial (B2) and Warehousing (B8) Development” and Housing and Local Neighbourhood Policy H1 - “Land for New Housing Development”.
  • E34/2 – Westgate Corridor - see Economy and Work Policy EW1 - “Land for Business (B1) and Industrial (B2) and Warehousing (B8) Development”.
  • E34/3 – Clock Tower Mill - see General Policy proposal GP4/5, Economy and Work proposal EW1/14, Housing and Local Neighbourhood proposal H1/10, and Burnley Town Centre proposal BTC6/3.
  • E34/4 – Extwistle Hall - Extwistle Hall is a grade II* Listed Building of exceptional value whose preservation is considered to be in the national interest. The Hall is included in English Heritage’s Register of Buildings at Risk from neglect and decay and is classified in the highest risk category. Proposals for re-use must relate sensitively to the building and will require craftsmanship and professional skill to a high standard. See Policy E10 – Alterations, Extensions, Change of Use and Development Affecting Listed Buildings and GP2 – Development in Rural Areas.
  • E34/5 – Hepworth’s - see Economy and Work proposal EW1/4.
  • E34/6 – Oswald Street - see Community Facilities proposal CF3/1.

To bring about the reclamation and re-use of these sites the Council will seek support from the North West Regional Assembly, the North West Development Agency, English Partnerships and other public and private bodies.



Burnley, like many areas in the North West with a long industrial heritage, suffers from a legacy of derelict and contaminated land and derelict buildings. Over the years, many sites have been successfully reclaimed and reused e.g. Bank Hall colliery, Rowley, Proctor’s Mill, and Shuttleworth Mead. The Council will continue to support the reclamation and reuse of such land and buildings in order to make the most efficient use of land and buildings, reduce environmental pollution, and support urban renaissance.


In implementing this policy the Council will work closely with the North West Regional Assembly, North West Development Agency and English Partnerships. In particular, the Council will seek to prioritise schemes with the North West Regional Assembly and North West Development Agency in accordance with Policy EQ1 – “Tackling Derelict land and Contamination Issues” of Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West. The sites listed in the policy above are the Council’s suggested priorities.

Target: E1i


The Council will strictly control the location of residential and other development within, or in close proximity to, existing or former landfill sites and will not grant permission for such development where there is considered to be a substantial risk to development. In particular, residential development with gardens within 50 metres of the boundary of infilled waste will be resisted, in accordance with the advice in Waste Management Paper no. 27. Any proposals that are permitted will be subject to conditions to ensure that site investigations are carried out and adequate precautionary measures are incorporated to secure long term safety of the structure and its occupants.



Particular care needs to be taken within development proposals on or near to former landfill sites, owing to the potential problem of the migration of gas from these sites. The Council will consult with the Council’s Environmental Health And Cleansing Unit and, where appropriate, the Environment Agency regarding levels of gas at recorded sites. However, it will be up to the developer to finance and provide an independent assessment of risk from migrating gas.

« Back to contents page | Back to top