LETTER: Our ‘dismay and disappointment’

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CLITHEROE Civic Society is a non-political organisation.

We always aim to represent Clitheronians and be a “critical friend” to Ribble Valley Borough Council and Clitheroe Town Council in order to promote a good working relationship with both.

We have always responded to public consultations with reasoned comments. However, over recent months we have become increasingly perturbed, like many others, by the proliferation of house planning applications for large numbers of dwellings and by the lack of a Core Strategy.

To that end Clitheroe Civic Society planned a “Clitheroe Question Time” where members of the public could put written questions to planning experts from RVBC, who know the up-to-date situation. Also invited were our MP Nigel Evans and Steve Rush, Chairman of Clitheroe Residents Action Group.

Our goal was to remedy public ignorance of the latest local and government planning initiatives, along with information regarding lobbying by our council leaders and MP to limit future house building in the Ribble Valley.

We also intended the event be a fund-raising initiative to raise much needed income for St Mary’s church spire. We estimated that by charging the audience £2 entry fee we could raise over £500 for this very important cause.

To our dismay, the council employees involved with the Planning Department were advised by RVBC Chief Executive Marshal Scott not to accept our invitation; one councillor thought his presence was inappropriate; Nigel Evans could only attend on a Friday because of his parliamentary duties (Friday is not a good evening to hold a serious meeting) and Steve Rush would attend.

As three of the five panel members representing RVBC refused to attend we have little option but to cancel the event.

It is with dismay that the opportunity for local government figures to provide public information on the subject of housing development in Clitheroe has been lost. So too has a donation to the St Mary’s church spire fund.

Sorry Clitheronians... we tried.

PAULINE WOOD,

Chairman,

Clitheroe Civic Society