‘Stop building new homes’ call

Coun. Ken Hind
Coun. Ken Hind

A councillor has called for all new planning consents in Longridge to be put on ice.

Ward councillor Ken Hind said there is no need for any further applications to be passed, claiming the local housing market is being “strangled” because of a lack of co-operation between Preston Council and Ribble Valley Council, and because developers are “land-banking” rather than building.

Whittingham Park, Goosnargh

Whittingham Park, Goosnargh

Coun Hind said the town’s allocation of new homes had already been exceeded, and of those given permission, 870 have yet to be started.

He said: “(It) looks good on company balance sheet - land worth 50 times more with planning consent than without it - but does not help elderly people wanting retirement bungalows in Longridge.

“The housing market is strangled in Longridge because the Preston Council has granted applications for 800 homes on the Whittingham side of Longridge without the need to consider what Ribble Valley are doing or consideration of the local market.”

He also claims Preston Council is being “difficult” granting Longridge residents affordable homes on city sites.

A Ribble Valley Council spokesman insisted it works with neighbouring authorities.

He added all local planning authorities are obliged to determine planning applications in accordance with planning law, adding: “So, although the council will do all it can to ensure that any approval given is in the best interests of our residents, a refusal to consider applications is not a response that is available.”

Chris Hayward, director of planning at Preston City Council, said: “Local planning authorities are required by law to work together in preparing plans under a duty to co-operate, and this was scrutinised by an independent Government inspector.

“Targets for the number of houses to be built specified in local plans are minimum requirements. The aim of the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal is to accelerate development to provide much needed homes, and ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place, such as the Broughton Bypass.

“Preston City Council has granted permission for 489 houses on two sites at Cromwell Heights and north of Whittingham Road, allocated in the local plan. We worked closely with Ribble Valley Borough Council in preparing this plan.

“With affordable housing in rural areas, preference is normally given to eligible applicants in the rural parishes of Preston to meet local housing needs.

“If there are no suitable applicants from the rural parishes or across the Preston area, then there is an informal arrangement between both councils that affordable housing will then be made available to Ribble Valley residents.”