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CPRE believes Green Belt land in the Guide/Belthorn area should stay green

10th June 2022

CPRE is supporting a community group from the villages of Belthorn and Guide, who are campaigning against proposals to remove 94 acres of land from the Green Belt in the Blackburn with Darwen area.

We question the justification for a large employment site at this location, in light of a potential oversupply of employment land when taking into account adjacent local authorities’ allocations.

When considering the harms from releasing this parcel of land from the Green Belt, we find them insurmountable, owing to the permanence of the development, the impact on openness, and spatial and visual harms.

Local residents taking part in a protest march on April 23rd, 2022. | Paul Simpson

There are also a number of issues relating to traffic levels and the unsuitability of existing road networks, road safety, air quality, and lack of sustainable transport access options.

The proximity of the West Pennine Moors Site of Special Scientific Interest also raises concerns, particularly in light of the fact that this is a peatland site, and thus vital in the mitigation of the climate emergency, but is already partially degraded. The site borders moorland fringe habitat, vital to a number of breeding birds, including red-listed Skylark and Linnet, amber-listed Meadow Pipit, Oystercatcher and Whitethroat, and Merlin, Curlew and Snipe. There are over 30 pairs of Lapwings nesting on site. They are ground-nesting birds, are also on the red list, and they cannot nest in close proximity to tall structures, as they then become vulnerable to predators. There are also important plants and fungi in the SSSI, including Springy Turf-Moss, Field Woodrush and Pink Waxcap.

Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) | Andreas Trepte,

Local residents cherish this area as a vital piece of countryside on the doorstep, enjoying relatively dark skies, and bringing health and wellbeing benefits to the many people who use the public rights of way on the site for recreation. Despite the proximity of the M65 motorway, it is hidden from view and shielded by large scale earth bunds to the north and west, preserving the rural character of the ground.

Download the group’s response to the Local Plan consultation, as well as CPRE’s report, below.

Response to Local Plan

Covering letter

Guide and Belthorn Green Belt site Paul Simpson