Row over plans to run sewage pipe through Cuerden Valley Park

Controversial plans to install a sewage pipe through Cuerden Valley Park look set to be knocked back next week.

Thursday, 1st October 2020, 3:45 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd October 2020, 8:24 am

Park trustees have made the application to excavate a trench and install separate surface and foul water drains between Shady Lane and the River Lostock to serve a residential development on land off Nell Lane.

The proposal is the result of a commercial deal between the Trust and housing developers and means that should new dwellings be constructed in the area, the Trust will receive a "significant sum of money" to be invested in the Park.

But Chorley Council planning officers have recommended that permission for the pipe is refused, because installation would 'result in the loss of trees that make a valuable contribution to the character of the landscape and the benefits of the proposal would not outweigh the harm caused by this loss'.

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The farmland where the proposed sewage pipe would run.

Trustees argue the three-metre-wide trench would be dug through farmland it owns and would be "carefully designed to avoid significant areas of wildlife and nature conservation". They are also keen to point out it would not go through a Biological Heritage Site and would not cause any impact on the nearby Tennis Court Pond Biological Heritage Site which is a breeding site for great crested newts.

But 23 representations have been received, including one from Councillor Mark Clifford and one from Cuerden Parish Council, raising objections including:

- Increased flooding on Shady Lane and River Lostock

- The removal of protected trees with high amenity value including a veteran oak,

- Harm to wildlife/Biological Heritage Site and harm to Green Belt.

Sarah Elsy of Cuerden Parish Council also raised concerns over the impact construction work could have on established trees and hedgerows in Nell Lane and Shady Lane.

She said: "Whatever happens in the park, it still has to come through those lanes."

Simon Thorpe, general manager of Cuerden Valley Park said: “We are aware that the application has attracted a number of objections, but these are largely based on misinformation and lack of context.

"We do understand that some people are against housing development at Nell Lane, but this application is for a sewer pipe and has to be assessed on its own merits. The fact is that construction of the sewer will have very little impact on the landscape or environment.”

>>>Read about the housing plans for the area in more detail here

He said that the application is of "paramount importance to the Trust", which is struggling with the challenge of managing the wear and tear from increased numbers of visitors to the Park, and has been financially impacted by the cancellation of various fundraising activities due to Covid-19.

He added: "There’s a lot riding on the outcome of this application. Funds from the sewer deal will go towards conservation work such as improving paths, bridges, and repairs to the Victorian reservoir.”

Councillor Peter Gabbott, who represents Clayton le Woods and Cuerden, said: "The park is a community asset for Clayton Le Woods and Cuerden and is an important part of residents lives in the local area. I am disappointed the trustees have chosen to put profit first rather than promoting and preserving the park which is what the charitable trust should be doing."

A previous application was refused earlier this year because of impact on trees. The Trust is confident that these concerns have now been addressed.

A decision on the pipe will be made on Tuesday by borough Councillors.