Longridge homes protestors slam ‘travesty of justice’

Lower Cockleach Longridge -
Lower Cockleach Longridge -

Longridge Town Council is to question Ribble Valley Borough Council on proceedings during its planning committee meeting on July 2 when the Barratt Homes application for 363 homes was given the go-ahead.

Councillors made the decision at their meeting last week after hearing local residents describe the borough meeting which they attended as “a shambles.”

One councillor got up to leave prior to any discussion ...

Resident Belinda Singleton

Five long-term residents who felt they would be affected by Barratt’s major development plans for the Longridge Cricket Club ground off Chipping Road, spoke for homeowners in Chipping Road, Redwood Drive and Inglewhite Road.

They told the town council they were all fearful of the effects of the proposed development on drainage – which they felt had not been properly investigated by experts or Barratts – major and regular flooding issues, traffic increases and their impact, and the consequent loss of insurance and value on their properties.

As a result of hearing the concerns, the town council has also decided to explore the possibility of engaging an environmental flood specialist for an opinion.

It also decided to ask Barratts what is their understanding regarding the insurance issues for local people and, on the proposed housing site, for prospective buyers, in relation to the issues raised.

Resident Belinda Singleton – whose home Lower Cockleach means ‘wet place’ in old English, is regularly flooded and is 500 metres from the development site – told the town council the planning meeting “can only be described as a shambles.”

She said: “One councillor got up to leave prior to any discussion ... we were informed if he took part in either the discussion or vote, both he and the council would be sued by Barratts. How is that democracy in action?

“For such an important vote for Longridge, surely all should be represented?”

She felt the meeting had been a “travesty of justice” and she had been badly let down by the system.

Jack Houghton of Inglewhite Road said that once a brick was laid he would not get insurance for his house. Flooding had regularly affected the area up to the police station on Derby Road, along Windsor Avenue, Chipping Road and all the way to Gibbon Bridge. “My house is devalued so I shall demand to have my rates reduced,” he stated.

Redwood Drive residents Eric Ball, Brenda Crouch and Jeff Seel spoke on similar concerns, Mr Seel stating he hoped the borough decision could be overturned and he asked the council if there was any way this could be achieved.

All residents who felt affected by the plans and also the impact from other developments on adjacent Preston sites, were urged by Longridge council to lobby County Coun David Smith.