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We are relieved that the Planning Inspectorate has imposed conditions on the Lobden Golf Club’s proposed upgraded road across Lobden Common, Whitworth in Lancashire, to mitigate its adverse effect on the common.
Lobden Golf Club wanted to upgrade and tarmac the road in front of the golf club. Because this is on common land, the club was required to obtain the consent of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006.
We objected, along with our member Mr Philip Ham, because the route is an ancient track — part of the Pennine Bridleway long-distance path — which has been traffic-free for ever, and the proposed works would destroy the natural beauty of the common and interfere with its enjoyment by walkers and riders.
The Planning Inspectorate has determined the application on behalf of the environment secretary and ruled that consent is granted but with the condition that the works are carried out in accordance with the highway authority’s detailed design-requirements. Lancashire County Council has already said that the works must not result in an excessive width which might increase vehicle speed, the club must provide two tarmac strips with the middle strip unsealed allowing horse-riders a choice of surface, it must protect the interesting features of the stone sets and avoid the use of materials which will quickly degrade leaving a dangerous surface.
Says Philip Ham: ‘The Planning Inspectorate has granted consent with conditions that address our principal concerns. This is a good result and was achieved through a prolonged campaign to ensure the real issues relating to the proposed development were properly considered and sensible measures put forward to limit any impact.’
Adds our general secretary Kate Ashbrook: ‘This is a good outcome, and we are pleased that Lancashire County Council has been firm about the requirements for the track, and that the inspector has endorsed these. We are delighted that the ancient trackway and the beauty of the common will be protected.’