FRUSTRATED residents up in arms about plans for a development of more than 1,000 new homes on the outskirts of Clitheroe staged a protest to Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans at the weekend.
A 30-strong group of residents from the Lingfield Avenue area of Clitheroe met the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons to campaign against plans submitted by the Trustees of the Standen Estate to build 1,040 homes.
The meeting was arranged with Mr Evans after residents approached Conservative councillor for Ribble Valley Borough Council’s Salthill ward Coun. Ian Brown. The residents and Coun. Brown walked with Mr Evans to land behind properties in Lingfield Avenue and Hillside Close to show him the green fields that would be lost if the application was given the go-ahead.
Margaret and Denis Rogers, who have lived in Lingfield Avenue for 32 years, were two of the residents who turned out to make their feelings known. “We don’t want to come across as NIMBYS (not in my back yard), our worries are for the whole of Clitheroe as this development is going to be like a new town.”
These comments were seconded by neighbours Judith and Kevin Read. Judith agreed their main concerns were about the loss of beautiful countryside and the extra infrastructure required for a large development.
Mr John Auster, of Hillside Close, said while looking out on his current uninterrupted view of Pendle Hill: “Where we are standing here, 1,040 houses are going to be in every direction we can see.”
He added the application couldn’t be described as anything but “overdevelopment” that would “dwarf” what was already there.
The outline application – seeking permission in principle for the development – is the largest planning application the Ribble Valley has ever seen.
The plans are for 728 market value homes and 312 affordable homes, on land at Higher Standen Farm and part of Littlemoor Farm, Clitheroe. If approved, amenities such as a new primary school and an improved junction, in the form of a roundabout, at the accident blackspot where Pendle Road meets the A59 have been promised.
Speaking to The Clitheroe Advertiser, Mr Evans said: “Although it is ultimately going to be a decision for the local authority where the housing is going to go, I am delighted Coun. Ian Brown has brought me on site to look at it, as it is substantial.”
He added it is a mass development of what essentially is the gateway to Pendle Hill.
“As open spaces go, these are the lungs of our countryside,” said Mr Evans. “The Government said emphasis should go on brownfield development, on the footprints of where older developments are. It said we should be looking there first, but it’s the size of this particular development that people are frustrated and angry at. Clitheroe countryside that, if built on, would be lost forever.”
Coun. Brown has always opposed the RVBC’s Core Strategy – the planning blueprint for the borough until 2028 – which the Government has asked local authorities to formulate. The document, which the Government planning inspector suspended for six months in order for RVBC to update its evidence, proposes that the borough can sustain a minimum of 4,000 new houses up until 2028. The so-called “Standen Village” development, siting the bulk of new housing on a single site, is the preferred option of the strategy.
Coun. Brown told The Clitheroe Advertiser that protests like the one staged on Saturday were essential to bring this issue to the forefront of local residents’ minds before it is too late.
“A lot of people seem to have accepted that there’s going to be all these houses,” added Coun. Brown. “I want to show people what’s going on. The Standen Estate proposal on its own is too many and that’s not counting the plans for 270 houses down Henthorn, 300 at Waddow View, 50 on the former Barkers Nursery site, 157 at Primrose and 504 at Barrow. At Barrow and Wiswell, there are only 480 houses there now.
“We have a big responsibility regarding this issue and if some, most or all are built and the infrastructure is not in place, it will have serious consequences for our residents and once built they cannot be pulled down.
“There seems to be a one size fits all policy that is not right for the Ribble Valley.”
• Mr Evans, along with Coun. Albert Atkinson (Deputy Leader of Lancashire County Council), Coun. Stuart Hirst (Deputy Leader of RVBC), and Coun. Terry Hill (Chairman of RVBC’s Planning Committee) have secured a meeting with the Government’s Planning Minister Nick Boles MP and concerned local residents.
The meeting, due to take place at Westminster later this month, will be attended by leaders from local action groups who have voiced concerns about planning policy.
Mr Evans explained: “Couns Atkinson, Hirst, Hill and I have been keen to set up a meeting of this kind for some time now. There is clearly a wealth of feeling all over the country and particularly in the Ribble Valley about the direction in which planning policy is going.
“Many residents’ groups have been set up where communities are worried about how national decisions are affecting local planning choices.
“I think it right that the Planning Minister is prepared to meet with local residents so that they can get across their legitimate concerns.”
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Weather for Clitheroe
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 7 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: West