Government minister: new Ribble Valley homes must be ‘justified’

Clitheroe and Ribble Valley Councillor Kevin Horkin (right) with the Government's Housing Minister Grant Shapps MP
Clitheroe and Ribble Valley Councillor Kevin Horkin (right) with the Government's Housing Minister Grant Shapps MP

HOUSING Minister Grant Shapps has told a Ribble Valley councillor any new developments in the borough must be “justified and sustainable”.

Speaking to Coun. Kevin Horkin – who serves on both Ribble Valley Borough Council and Clitheroe Town Council – after a charity lunch, Mr Shapps MP said the new Localism Bill would give communities greater powers to object to new housing applications.

Coun. Horkin, who questioned the Minister about controversial plans to build more houses in the Ribble Valley, says he received welcome assurances.

“The Minister made it clear to me any new housing developments must be justifiable and sustainable,” said Coun. Horkin. “If they are not, local people and the council should quite rightly oppose the plans.

“The Minister also said the new Localism Bill contains measures which will empower communities to reject housing applications if they don’t want them.”

Mr Shapps had been attending a charity lunch in Rawtenstall.

“I raised my concerns, saying the people of the Ribble Valley were very concerned about urban sprawl in the area and the Minister was sympathetic,” added Coun. Horkin.

The Minister also wished Coun. Horkin “every success” in his bid to become the Conservative Party’s official candidate for the new post of Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner.