LOCAL councillors in Clitheroe are working to unite townsfolk concerned about plans to concentrate most of the borough’s new housing for the next 16 years in the town.
The “preferred option” for Ribble Valley Borough Council’s yet-to-be-finalised Core Strategy document would put the bulk of the area’s new housing up to 2028 in a new developmment of 1,040 homes on the Standen Estate, at the southern edge of Clitheroe. The core stategy is a long-term planning blueprint which guides where in the borough new developments can and cannot take place.
However, councillors in Clitheroe are deeply concerned about the Standen Estate option and tnock-on effect it could have on the whole town. As a first step in their campaign they are backing an e-petition calling on Ribble Valley Borough Council to ensurefuture development is spread evenly around the borough.
Under the borough council’s preferred option for the core strategy, 58% of all housing development up to 2028 would be in Clitheroe – 54% on the Standen Estate development and a further 4% on other sites in town. Yet objectors point out Clitheroe currently accounts for only a quarter of the borough’s population.
Clitheroe Town Councillor Jim Shervey said: “That is why the petition argues that, as Clitheroe makes up 25% of the total Borough of Ribble Valley population, the proposed new developments within Clitheroe should also equate to 25% of the total requirement.”
Clitheroe’s County Councillor Allan Knox backed the campaign and said: “In the 15 years I have represented local people, there has been nothing that will have quite the impact on Clitheroe as the current plan in Ribble Valley’s core strategy. I believe it is vital all local politicians from all parties in Clitheroe unite and back the campaign.”
Borough Councillor Sue Knox – the only member of Ribble Valley’s development committee to vote against the preferred option – added: “We accept some houses need to be built because of demographic change and the fact that with a low crime rate and good schools Clitheroe and the Ribble Valley is an attractive place to live.
“However it is completely unfair and unsustainable for Clitheroe to take the brunt of the new development and get 58% of the houses when we have only 25% of the current population. The numbers should be spread over the whole of Ribble Valley.”
“While developers will always promise more infrastructure, the fact is our medieval market town, because of physical issues such as the conservation area, railway line, river and arterioral roads, has only a limited capacity to expand.”
The campaigners are calling all residents of Clitheroe to unite and join the campaign and sign the e-petition.
Town councillor Jim Shervey concluded: “If the plan goes ahead our rural market town will never be the same again.”
You can sign the e-petition online at: www.feedbackonline.org.uk/petition/5919/